Rev. Chani Getter, LCSW
April 14, 2022
I was 23 years old with three children when I left my arranged marriage. Perhaps out of necessity, perhaps due to circumstances, I had created a life for myself where busyness and packed schedules were the norm. I was raising the kids, going to school, working multiple jobs.
I had this dream… I would be 40 when my youngest turned 18. In my imagination, it would be that moment when I would have time, freedom, ability to do all the things I kept pushing off to do, and I would finally have silence!
Like the saying goes, life has a way of making its own plans.
A few months after turning 40, I suffered a traumatic brain injury, something I am still navigating today.
In addition, my kids didn’t all move out at 18 although there was a lot less I needed to do for them as they became older. Then, my sweet mother-in-law, who had Alzheimer’s, moved in with us.
So… responsibility simply changed.
I thought about this busyness I was living in, the way in which I had enslaved every waking hour of my day, the desire to slow down, the need for quiet. I realized that there was always going to be something, someone in need, somewhere to be, something to do. I needed to consciously choose and deliberately change the way I was living, otherwise I would be in this cycle of doing and doing all the time.
About a year ago, I began altering my life, I created empty space in my schedule, I structured more time to do the things I had been squeezing in between jobs, or clients, allowing me to slow down.
In January of this year, my mother-in-law passed away. As we grieve her loss, we find our house empty, there is more time, less responsibility. A friend of ours called it a “painful freedom.”
Passover is the holiday we celebrate our ancestor’s liberation from slavery to freedom. We spend time asking ourselves – Where are we ourselves still enslaved? How are we enslaving others? What can we do to bring liberation and peace into a world so in need of it?
According to the Rabbis only 20 percent of the Israelites left Mitzrayim (Hebrew for Egypt also translated as: the narrow place). Only 1 in 5 were able to envision a life for themselves beyond what was imagined for them by others, to see past the everyday grind of what needs to get done now, and dream of something that has not yet been conceived.
How can we create time for a daily practice of hiking, coloring, praying, meditation, yoga, singing, playing music, exercising, etc. whatever nourishes our soul, that which allows us to dream? How do we put boundaries in place making those times we set for ourselves sacred? In terms of others, can we make a commitment to be punctual with friends, acquaintances and colleagues honoring their time and ours?
May this year bring us all insight on how to free ourselves from our own shackles, to perceive the ways we take away power from others and to act in a way that allows all of us to inhabit a more just world.
Chag Kosher v’Samayach (Hebrew)
A koshern Freylichn Pesach (Yiddish)
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