Rev. Chani Getter, LCSW
February 26, 2021
As I sit down to write this reflection, I am struck by the dichotomies that have become an everyday occurrence in this past year. What does it mean to put on a mask on Purim when we have spent the entire year masked? What does it mean to be showing more of ourselves when most of us have seen into each other’s homes virtually? We’ve been into the homes of our bosses, our colleagues, our therapists, and even our clergy, where we probably would never have been invited physically.
Ordinarily, on Purim we dress up and/or wear a mask in order to show a side of ourselves usually hidden. It is when we put on “drag” to feel parts of ourselves that we haven’t fully embraced yet.
As I listened to my daughter chanting Megilah (story of Esther, read on Purim) while wearing a mask, through zoom… I began reflecting…
Perhaps this year, this Purim, it is about fully leaning into what it feels like to wear a mask, day-in and day-out… Leaning into what it feels like to be seeing only one another’s eyes when we are in each other’s presence… Leaning into what it feels like seeing each other’s whole faces as well as homes when we are on screen.
It is about not ever fully having it all, if we have the person then we don’t get the dimples in their smile. If we get their smile, we don’t have their energy. It’s noticing the things that are missing, understanding the gaps in the desire to want everything and yet getting only bits and pieces at a time. It’s about not being able to be with everyone we love and needing to show up in every way for those we can be with.
What if this year we cover up the parts of ourselves that don’t serve us or our neighbors – our criticism, our righteousness, our rush to judgement? What if this year we uncover the parts of ourselves that we ALL need to see more of – our understanding, our compassion, our encouragement, our empathy to self and others? So, your dog barked, or your baby cried, or you accidentally turned yourself into a cat during a business meeting. We don’t have to be perfect! Uncover the compassion you have deep down inside and lavish it on yourself! So, you’ve gained 10 pounds during the pandemic. Cover up that rush to judgement – it’s not the end of the world. So, you haven’t written a novel, learned to bake bread, or fostered a dog! Cover up that self-criticism! Maybe you’ve shoveled a neighbor’s driveway, or reached out to friends that live alone. Uncover your encouragement and tell yourself you did a good thing. Maybe all you’ve managed to do is to get out of bed – even if you didn’t put on shoes – and that is ENOUGH!
What if until we can see everyone’s full face and be together safely in person and hug, and beyond, we gift ourselves with acceptance to be ALL of who we are in this moment, exactly how we are, without needing to change a thing. Isn’t that the Spirit of Purim and the reason we dress up in the first place, to embrace the parts of us we rarely give ourselves permission to experience?
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