One year ago there was a momentum beginning. I had come through significant financial, spiritual and marital distress. I had overcome the paralysis of being an anonymous stay at home mom for 17 years, to starting my career again. I was getting some traction at building an identity that was separate from my children and husband. I was building a few days a week in private practice as a Family Therapist. I was going to workshops again, collaborating with other professionals, even leading groups and workshops on my own and with others. I was preparing for my daughter, Micah’s, Bat Mitzvah the Shabbat after Passover. This had forced me to stop waiting for someone else to lead the way to finding a spiritual community. I began finding that on my own. I had even been asked to give (and delivered) a D’Var Torah (sermon or lesson) to our congregation. I had discovered how much I love to play physically. I was running, swimming and beginning to learn about a way of playing called https://www.movnat.com/ Everything was lining up. I had laid a foundation to build upon. Zeke would go to Kindergarten in the fall and I would be ready. I would build my practice and identity as a Family Therapist. I would do some physical preparation so I could be ready for a movnat certification course in September. I would get to enjoy the community I had begun to realize was surrounding me.
Then Passover comes around.
The rug was yanked out from under me. I lost my footing and my world turned upside down. (again! this does seem to be a theme in life) I had cancer.
How could this have happened to ME??? I was stronger and healthier than I had ever been! I had no symptoms. Except maybe that deep down tired that I couldn’t shake over the winter. I thought it was just the winter.
It is never lost on me how Passover has become this significant time in my life when G-d forces me to let go. It is a time of freedom, yes, but the children of Israel had to LET GO of being slaves. They didn’t all want to, you know. Not all the slaves followed Moses out of Egypt. Those that did had to wander in the desert for 40 years before they let go of their identity as slaves. Actually, G-d finally had to wait until they had children who had never BEEN slaves. That is how powerful our identity is to us.
Father Rohr speaks about our identity, our ego, in his writings. He claims that G-d doesn’t like our ego that we create for ourselves. Mainly because it gets in the way of us being ourselves. The self that G-d created. G-d is ready to strip us of that ego whenever She/He gets the chance. In whatever way is possible. Because G-d doesn’t know our ego. That is something we create. G-d wants US, not this illusion we create to show every one else.
So one year later… I am completely stripped of my ego. I was beginning to create that identity of my own. That thing I wanted to show the rest of the world. It is gone. I am back to being the anonymous ‘stay at home’ mom. I am starting from scratch to find a community. Hell, to even find my way around the grocery store! (don’t knock how hard that is!)
Passover last year started a letting go that rivals anything I have been through in my life as of yet. Starting with my health, I then let go of my work as a Family Therapist, my son (leaving home), then my home, my community…my identity. I had to let go. It is a very humbling experience. Actually it is not just humbling, it is devastating. I had a few days and weeks of pure grief. Crying constantly. Then anger. Then crabbiness and grumpiness. Then snapping at my family. Then crying again. It has gone on for awhile now. It does not seem to be done yet.
And yet, my body is healing. I am cancer free. I have a beautiful new home in a new state. My son has had an amazing year in Israel. My husband has a wonderful new job. My other children have made new friends and fallen in love with new schools. I have reunited with my best friend of 15 years. So many blessings.
So what is the problem??
I guess that finding ‘myself’ ain’t that easy. Letting go of my ego is spiritual work. I understand that intellectually. I don’t get it on a full body visceral level. I am grieving what is lost. I was attached to it ALL.
So who is the real me? How do I become ‘myself’? How do I fill out MY life and live it fully? That mission G-d sent me down here to fulfill? The one I agreed to in full before my Angel touched my lip and let me forget? How do I remember where I am supposed to go and what I am supposed to do?? How do I do it without creating that armor? That ego? That identity that I want to use to puff me up like the chametz??
Last Passover I was the matzah. Barely able to stand up. Unable to rise. My beautiful friends picked me up and carried me through Passover on their backs. Frankly, I have to say, it was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. To be so fully supported and so clearly carried in a time of crisis. There was no doubt that i was loved and cared for.
So I face this Passover with so many emotions and questions. I hope that I can tap into that same sense of being carried, fully supported by G-d, as I was by my friends and community last year this time. I know G-d is there to do that. The challenge is to tap into it. Maybe if I can, I won’t have to worry about the identity so much. That whole “who am I” thing. Maybe G-d is ok with just plain ole me. My father tells me I have to let go before something else can take hold. Letting go makes space for something new. My mother says, the grief carves out space so you can fit more joy.
So my prayer this year is that G-d please carry me fully supported on Your back like the matzah. Please help ease the pain of letting go. Transform this pain of letting go into the joy of freedom. Help me embrace this as freedom to find the path you want for me. Please use that empty space to fill me up with the essence of ‘myself’. The real me. The one You intended for this world. And then please, please help me remember which way to go.