Unwanted Lecture

About Money

After a few uncomfortable conversations about what my children are sure they NEED for camp.  After umpteen conversations with Zeke about the 57 toys (literally) he has put in the Amazon cart that will need to wait until his birthday.  Hoping he will forget about 56 of them.  After another conversation with my eldest about all the costly senior retreats, trips to Israel, college etc.  I ventured to speak to my children about my philosophy of money:

“Let’s have a conversation about what money IS and what it IS NOT.  Money IS simply a means to provide what we need in this world.  Money IS something that will ebb and flow in our lives.  Sometimes we will have more than the other times when we have less.  Money IS NOT a statement about our moral character.  Money is simply money.  Sometimes we have it, sometimes we don’t.”

This is as far as I get.  It is at this point, that we face off.  My children and I.  I with words of infinite wisdom in my holster, and they armed with quiet defiance and lack of interest.  I know this because I am actually not as dumb as they think.  There is some invisible switch they can flip at will, their eyes glaze over and become fixed on some distant point behind my head.  Their body goes still, physically there, but their awareness has left the building.  I could continue.  This IS infinite wisdom after all, but then comes the final blow.  They look down at their I-phone.  You know, the one they EACH have.  I know when I have met my match.   I am not one to waste infinite wisdom on deaf ears plugged into fancy I-phones.

I fought the same battle with my parents.  I could not tell you what my Dad said in those long lectures on life.  I just know they were LONG.  This is lecture #675.  Subject:  Money

My kids don’t want to talk about money unless the phrase, “yes you can” is in there somewhere.  “Not now” or “no” makes the conversation less appealing.  I understand, really.  I struggle with that “no” just as much.  But I have learned something.

As much anxiety and worry as money has cost me all these years, not once in my entire life, have I actually been without what I NEED.  I have never been homeless or hungry (except when I refuse to EAT the dinner I didn’t like), cold (except when I refuse to WEAR the coat that was not good enough) or sick without access to help!  In fact, I have rarely been without what I WANTED.

So why all the discomfort about money?  Most kids turn into grownups that have all these emotions tied up with money.  Myself included.  Guilt, fear, shame to name a few.  We all want to have enough money so that we never have to think or talk about it.

I really want my kids to know the truth about money, but frankly, I need the lecture just as much as they do.  Here it is in a nutshell.

When we have more than we need, don’t get too crazy.  When we have less, don’t panic.  Know that both of these WILL happen.  More than once.  When it seems like everyone around us has more than we do, don’t judge ourselves as less.  Money does not equal character.  Simply take a minute to look at our history, not our peers.

The year I was conceived.  My grandfather had committed suicide and left my Dad, newly married to my Mom, to care for his mother and 8 siblings.  I am not sure there is a worse tragedy to befall a family.  My parents quit school and moved home to care for them.  A poor Catholic family.  10 people living in a 3 bedroom, 1 bath house.  A door with metal legs bolted on for a table.  A refrigerator held closed by a broom.  Sisters, who would take turns going to Catholic Mass so they could share the dress to wear.  And my mom, who came from a wealthy family, describing it as a happy home with a lot of love.  How is that possible?

One of my earliest memories is sitting around that table.  So little that I had to be propped up on books and pillows to reach.  Laughing so hard that I fell over and out of the chair.  That was a table everyone wanted to be sitting.  It was filled with laughter.  I don’t remember what we ate.  I just remember the joy.

One of the nuns from the Catholic school where my grandmother taught, spoke at her funeral many many years later.  She told a story about that year of sorrow.  She spoke that she asked my grandmother what they could do to help them.  My grandmother replied, “We have what we need”.

My grandmother was one of the great loves of my life.  I feel pride when I am told I am like her.  In any way.  When I recently underwent surgery for cancer in a small Catholic hospital with a cross hanging on the wall above me, I felt her near.  I told my Dad I was pretty sure, she pulled some strings with her Catholic friends to get me the private corner room with wrap around windows.   And when all the pathology came back clear, I knew, “we have what we need”.

Money worries me when I think I don’t have enough.  I hate having to say “no” to my kids.  I wish I could give them everything they ask and want.

But I guess if I can teach them to discern the difference between WANT and NEED, that would be the better lesson.  If they can learn to look back at their family history and see the bigger picture, it might lend a more realistic sense of security.  If they can see that having more money and stuff doesn’t necessarily equal more happiness, it might relieve them.  I would like them to have peace that we “have what we need”.  We always have and we always will.  Enjoying that knowledge is conscious choice.

 

 

 

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The Most Perfect

Mother’s Day 2014

Mother’s Day has always been something of a disappointment to me.  Never able to live up to it’s Hallmark image.  My husband and children never able to really do enough to mark it special.  I, never able to do enough to mark it special for my mother, mother in law, sister, grandmothers.  All of this, measured by my own dissatisfied harsh internal judgment and measuring stick.  I have listened to friends lament how it fell short for them.  Their husbands or parents or children not able or willing to do what it takes to really honor the sacrifice and work it takes to be a mother.  Or the opposite.  I have listened to other mothers brag about how perfectly their families celebrated them, and felt pretty depressed about how my own marked the day.

Until now.

I think I finally ‘GET’ Mother’s Day.  Sad that it took facing illness and the fragility of my life to put things in perspective.  But then again, I guess that is the way of such things.

I did not DO anything of significance this Mother’s Day.  I am housebound, recovering from major surgery, on pain pills and feel accomplished to get a shower.  The little bit of something that we planned didn’t go exactly right.   I didn’t have a meal with everyone there.  I didn’t spend the better part of the day with anyone.  I read a book by myself.

But it was the BEST Mother’s Day ever.  Perfect in every way.

Because now I ‘GET’ it.

Mother’s Day is not about what recognition we mothers get from those around us.

What makes Mother’s Day special is what is within us.  It is about a choice we made however long ago we made it, to be a mother.  It is about the undeserved Grace that gave us the opportunity to fulfill that choice, however many times we did.  It is about a gratefulness that reaches up from the bottom of our toes, that we are still receiving that undeserved Grace, to keep fulfilling that choice for however long we get.

I talked to several of my friends about their Mother’s Day plans.  One friend spent the day taking her sick daughter to the doctor.  One friend had all her kids home, and did lots of laundry.  Another friend hunted for mushrooms, then went for a run. My mom, who has been taking care of me, went to church by herself, then took my girls shopping.  My sister single parented her toddler and prepared for a court case.  My grandmother was in the hospital after a fall at age 94.

None of these sound like the Hallmark card commercial we see on TV.

All of these were absolutely perfect in every way.

Because any and every minute of Mother’s Day we can stop and look at how amazing it is that we are ABLE to be here doing these things.  These unglamorous, under valued, simple but magnificent mother things.

One of my biggest fears as a mother, is that I will somehow not be here to see these children through their lives.  I brushed right up against that fear this year.  I touched it, tasted it, looked it square in the eye.  I will never be the same.

So no matter how imperfect I am.  No matter how bad my pain is after surgery.  No matter how incapacitated I am.  No matter how long it will take to recover.  No matter how much of what I normally do as mom I CAN’T right now.

I am HERE.  Through completely undeserved Grace.  I am a mother in this world being simply who I am for these 4 children.  For another Mother’s Day.

Perfect in every way.

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guest post

X is for X-rays and Other Stuff

This is part of my daughter, Micah’s, alphabiography assignment.  It was so good I asked her if I could share it.

 

My mom was diagnosed with cancer over  Spring Break on the first Friday off.  This is related to cancer because to find a broken bone, you have to use something like an x-ray to see inside the body. And, I would have made any letter cancer-related because I need to talk about it, though there isn’t much to say, other than cancer has probably given me some gray hairs and a few cry-full nights.

 

Dear Cancer,

  I fudging hate you. You hurt my mom and made me want to cry at school. You kill kids and adults and anyone in between, even though I know you can’t hurt my mom, because 1, you aren’t strong enough in her body. 2, she could beat you any day, and even though you are going to leave a scar on her body, she’ll only remember the good things about that scar, like that she was healed. On the topic of crying at school, I really wanted to. I wanted to let everyone know what was happening, but even though I felt really sad, the tears that released that sadness just wouldn’t come. I wish they had. I can tell that my eyes might show the sadness I feel in them, making me look like a homeless dog sometimes. And the worst thing is, you’re just a sickness. Not someone I could write to, or take out all my anger on.

    I cried last night, when i was lying in bed. I’ve done that before, and the only thing my mom can do is comfort me. I know that I might be making her upset too, but I can’t help it. That word, you, cancer, is a baggage-filled word. it consists of sadness and helplessness and hopelessness.

    I know that God will help my family with this, especially my mom, but if you could just bug off, I would be so much happier. And cancer, it’s not my mom’s fault that she’s sick; it’s yours. And I have people looking out for me and my mom, so you can’t take us down.

 

May it be Your will, Lord our God, God of our ancestors, to send perfect healing, of body and of soul, to Miriam, along with all others who are stricken.  (p. 113)

 

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The Sound of

Heart Cry

I didn’t realize until now that the heart and the womb are so closely connected. In some ways they are alike. They are both essential for sustaining life. They both create out of love. We are held in our mothers womb until our heart can hold our life afloat by itself. Then we become women and do that for our children. A true circle of life.

In this sense, our womb, is a woman’s second heart. The womb and heart are partners in a dance creating and sustaining life.

I have made peace with letting go of this second heart of mine. It is possible to live a good life without it. Much like we can survive with one lung or one kidney. What I didn’t expect was the grieving that my heart would have to do.

Since surgery I have awakened deep in the night to find myself crying. A sad mournful cry I have not heard come from within me before. A physical sensation of my heart aching.

At first, my logical self just explained it away. But after the 3rd time I began to wonder.

Like losing its brother or sister. My heart seems to be grieving the loss. The loss of its other half in this dance of my life. I certainly have my own grief I am working through.

I just had never heard the sound of my heart cry.

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I am thankful for

The Gift of a Week

Prepped for surgery.  A dark tunnel of time travel looming in front of me.  I imagine losing myself there,  emerging on the other side changed.  Permanently.  Not the me before.  A place where I am not in charge of the fixing.  Where something about me got so sideways and broken that I must put it in a stranger’s hands to mend.  All I can really do is pray and hope that I found the right stranger.  If I am completely honest, my deepest fear, that I am somehow at fault for this mess of myself that someone else has to fix.

Then a reprieve.  Surgery postponed.  I am handed the gift of a week.  A week of normal, free and clear.  The only catch is that it is the last.  The last week of it’s kind.  The last week before the ‘new normal’.  The new me.

A week cleared of all responsibilities and obligations.  A week handed back to me to spend however I choose.  How do you spend such a week?

Wisely.

At first, the possibilities were overwhelming.  All the things I should do, I wanted to do, I could do.  They were noisy in my head.  Clamoring to make the list of this week.   I started by reaching out to those around me, and then…

I found myself letting go.  Letting go of what I should do.  Listening instead to what I could do.  Hearing that soft whisper of what I wanted to get done become louder (for the first time in who knows how long) than the shrill whine of what I was supposed to get done.

It became one of the most beautiful, moving, relaxing, healing, eye opening weeks I can remember.

I learned how much I miss my female friendships.  How much I love to write.  How glorious it is to open up your heart and not be judged.  I learned that all those times this winter I felt so alone, I was wrong.  I learned what ‘your friends holding you up’ looks like.  How it is actually a gift to others to let them close to you.

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I learned that your kids can handle the truth and pitching in.  That no matter how old I am, I want my mom when I am sick.  I learned it is a ‘turn on’ to watch your husband take out the trash and clean the garage.   I learned that I can’t actually bury my uterus in the back yard and plant a tree on top of it.   That it will be used for science instead.  I learned how much time I actually waste when I rush around keeping up with should and supposed to.  I learned how much I am loved.  I learned that when you can’t make sense of something, you can still make peace with it.

Those who have gone through tragic loss of a loved one report what they miss most are the everyday, ordinary moments.  I was given a week of them.  The gift of a week.

This gift made me wonder if I looked at more things as my ‘last’,  I might live them more fully?  My last run for awhile.  My last period ever.  My last meal before surgery.  My last shower until after surgery.

Maybe, if I can hold on to this gift of a week through the tunnel of surgery to the other side, the new me might be able to live in the moment a little more.  I might be able to put down that cloak of insecurity I wrap myself in, and connect more with the wonderful people all around me.  Hug them a little longer.  Look them in the eye more directly.  Listen more patiently.  Risk asking for help more often.  Offer kind words more freely.  Show my heart more openly.  Say I love you instead of holding back.  In spite of the risk.

I am prepped for surgery once again.  My 3rd time in a month.  I will face that tunnel tomorrow.  But this time, I am a week wiser and a week stronger.  A week more loved and a week more humbled.   If I can hold on to that…

Who knows what is possible.

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Letting Go of

This Womb

I would like to honor and give thanks to this womb of mine.  This glorious giver of life.  This portal of sorts.  Bringing life from the spirit world 4 times.  Holding it deep inside me, safely suspended between two worlds, while the soul manifests a body.  Then assisting the final stretch home.  Birthing life and soul and body into this world…without mishap.  Giving these 4 souls a chance to start a new journey.

This feminine mother love is complete.  Fierce in its protectiveness.  Shielding from harm.  Rerouting lymph and such around the tender bud beginning.  Gentle in its nurturing.  Blocking light.  Muting sound.  Whispering rhythmic songs of heartbeats and mother’s voice.  Never a moment of hunger or thirst or …loneliness.

Now in this final act of love, giving life one last time, to me.  Sacrificing herself so that I may live.  Fighting to contain this disease so no harm will come to me.  This cancer that is life taker is no match for the life givers that surround me.  Healers, and pray’ers’ and this womb.

I will miss her rhythm that carried me through each month.  The flow that would release me from toxins, to the mikvah waters where I would bend God’s ear, to the reuniting in possibility of another chance at life giving.  Had I been braver in this practice of faith, there may have been more than 4.

But I will be brave now.  Although I have never had to be separated from such a part of myself, I accept her gift.  This second birth into life.  I will strive not to waste it.   To use it as a catapult into MY next chapter.  My second chance.  One where I hope to come into my power.  Where I hope to fulfill my purpose.

Knowing that while love can require sacrifice, strength can require letting go.  The willingness to move on.  To make it mean something.

Please as you take this womb from me, do it as gently and lovingly as possible.  With all the honors and blessings that have been earned for her valiant effort, her total sacrifice and her job well done.

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A therapeutic writing

How to Catch a Mouse

I woke up the other night to a strange squeaking sound in my kitchen.  This was followed by a lot of noises coming from my trashcan.  I tried to sneak up on the noise and catch the culprits red handed, but they were too savvy for that!  No matter how quietly and stealthily I crept, they were gone when I yanked open the trash.  I would go back to bed.  Just as I stopped fuming long enough to drift off to sleep, the little critters would begin doing acrobatics (and lots of non G-rated things I am sure) again.  I would jump out of bed and creep towards the kitchen… and so it went.  I did not get ANY sleep.  I was completely grossed out thinking about something of the rodent variety in my house!  In my kitchen!  Near the food that we eat!

Now my kids seem to waffle back and forth between being terrified of critters and bugs and wanting them for pets.  Doesn’t seem to be much in between.  Ever since we read “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh” all mice are either Mrs. Frisby or some relation.  First they looked at me with terror.  Then they (sure enough) wanted to catch it for a pet.  So how do I deal with this problem?  I don’t want them to be more scared of the natural world than they already are.  I don’t want to traumatize them by killing Mrs. Frisby (in front of them).  Yet, I also have to protect my family from varmints!

I considered the options.  My skin crawled.  So this post is really for my kids to read down the road.  It is what really happened to the mice.

What my kids know:

I ordered a humane mouse trap.  Next day delivery.

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It very sweetly has a spot for a peanut butter cracker to be placed.  The mouse smells it and then is trapped and unharmed.  You take the trap to an outdoor spot (far from your home) and open the trap.  The mouse has to eat through the cracker to escape.  This keeps you from coming into contact with the mouse, and calms the mouse, giving it a full belly and a better chance for survival.   All very humane and lovely.

My kids were all in.  My skin is still crawling.  We set the trap and voila:

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cute little mouse.  (skin crawling right now!!)

I caught one before I could even go to bed.  After a few heeby jeeby dances around the kitchen from the grossness, I got in the car and took it to the woods.  Middle of the night, 0 degrees, no actual ground to be seen under 2 feet of snow.  No matter, I let the little thing go.  No violence to report, albeit a little hypothermia and certain death from freezing.  But hey, there is always the chance another mouse family took it in.

I am so damn tired from the night time creepy crawlies that I can barely make it home to bed.  I get stuck in the driveway from all the snow.  I curse.  I dig myself out.  Curse a little bit more.  I reset the trap.  Wash my hands about 10 times.  Final cursing.  Pass out.  Next morning:

Voila!  Another little critter.  This time the kids are awake and not gonna miss a trick.  A lot of “It’s so cute!” and “Do you think it is Mrs. Frisby? or one of her kids?” and my favorite, “can we keep it?”

On the way to school we take it to the park and watch it eat it’s way to freedom.  Everybody happy.

What my kids don’t know:

I came home and called in the guy with the nuclear weapons.  I did try to find the guy who would use the most humane way of killing them.   No more mice.  Problem solved.

Now the question is this:  Which is better?  To teach kids about the ‘real world’ or protect them from it?  And when is the right age to throw them to the wolves?

Since there are such strong opinions in both directions, I am gonna assume that the jury is still out on this one.  I decided to follow my heart.  I decided to forge the middle path.  Protect their hearts and kindness to all God’s creatures AND protect them from being exposed to mice.  Then,  protect them from having to know the lengths I would go to, to protect them.  There is plenty of time for life’s reality.  It is coming soon enough.  For now, they can go to bed in a mice free zone, dreaming about how Mrs. Frisby got another chance.    And I hopefully will get a good night’s sleep as well.

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Hannah's

Second Grade Siddur Ceremony

My precious Hannah is a second grader at Solomon Schechter Day School.  This means lots of wonderful learning and growing and making friends.  In our family, and at this school, it also means an event of great magnitude.  The Siddur Ceremony.

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A ceremony in which they receive their first Hebrew prayer book.

Since our oldest, Noah, was born, I have wanted to give my children a sense of ‘knowing’ that was nurtured in me growing up.  ‘Knowing’ God on a personal daily level.  This ‘knowing’ is not limited to just one religion.  Nor, is this ‘knowing’ the rigid, punitive shoved down your throat kind.  No, I want my children to ‘know’ God as always with them, always listening to what they want to share, and ALWAYS loving them no matter what.

Prayer has been a daily part of this nurturing.  I pray with my children every night.  I sit with them at the end of the day and call the Angels to stand guard around them while they sleep.  I sing “Shema” to them in Hebrew,  “Listen O Israel, The Lord is our God, The Lord is One”.

And they pray every day at school.  They call it T’fillah and it is the Jewish morning prayer service.  They learn to sing the Hebrew prayers, and read the Torah.  It is done in a way that keeps it joyful and inviting.

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So the excitement of receiving their first Siddur is something that has been building since first grade.  Hannah was more excited about this than Hannukah this year.  Noah and Micah helped by replaying the memories and excitement of their own Siddur Ceremony.   She had been rehearsing special songs and dances at school to perform.  She wrote her own personal prayers and all the children used the microphone to speak these aloud to a crowd packed with family and friends.

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We also prepared at home.  We went shopping to let her pick out a dress she could feel special wearing.  We took a nice bath and did her hair.  We got a good night’s sleep.

As I write about these moments to mark and remember them for myself, I would describe this Siddur Ceremony as a heart explosion.  It is so beautiful to see and hear 60 some sweet second graders sing and dance together that it fills your heart up to bursting.  Then when they courageously stand in front of the microphone and speak their own personal prayers, their heart, your own heart just explodes into pure joy.

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made with love

Healing Soup

It was a tough week. Let’s just say it was a lot of mommy sacrifices. Missed workouts and not enough showering! The week ended with fevers and bloody noses in the middle of the night. Sleep deprivation, doctors visit and finally strep throat.

So Richard pulled out the big guns…healing soup and a good bottle of wine. He went to the store to get all the right ingredients. Then he poured me a good glass of wine and made me a piping hot bowl of healing soup.

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That is what marriage is really about. When the going gets tough, your spouse takes care of you:).

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D'var Torah

Parshat Bo, Exodus

We are members of a very unique synagogue, called Kol Sasson.  It is an egalitarian minyan. This means that although it is

orthodox in its service, the men and women lead equally.  This is not the norm.  Usually only the men lead orthodox

services.  We also do not have a specific rabbi to always lead services.  The members all step up to lead.  This means that

each Shabbat I am surrounded by super smart, extremely well read and very independent thinkers, both men and women.

It is a very inspiring way to spend Saturday mornings.

This past Shabbat, I gave the D’var Torah.  (this is like a sermon in Christian terms).  In Judaism we read a certain portion

of the Torah each week.  Jews all over the world read the same portion on the same day.  So I was speaking on the story Bo

in Exodus.  This begins right before the plague of the locusts.  I will share what I said here:

Listening to all of you give D’var Torah here over the past several months has been very inspiring.  Each one has

been so thoughtful and unique.  You also all sound very smart.  The way you pull from all different sources and tie

it all together.  One of the things I love about Kol Sasson is that we don’t rely on just one storyteller, one point of

view.  This format of taking turns and stepping up to share ourselves makes it feel much more like a discussion

than a monologue.  It is Collaborative storytelling.  

So when Rebecca asked me to take a turn, I was deeply honored and horribly intimidated.  I really wanted to be a

part of this story but knew I would have to cover some distance and conquer some fear to get there.  At least, this

is the one part of the service that is in English.  That part I felt confident I could do!

So I began.  I read Bo very carefully.  I read different commentaries.  I tackled Aviva Zornberg and Rabbi Hirsch.  I

began to write.  

It was a complete flop.  

I realized as much as I would like to get down in the weeds and come up with something brilliant sounding, it

wasn’t gonna be me and it wasn’t gonna work.  I had to work my own system of putting the books away and

listening to what comes from the heart.  Then find the courage to share it.   

When I put away the books, crumpled up my drafts and sat quietly, the first word that rose up was    STORY

We learn through stories.  We remember through stories.  We heal through stories.   We connect  through stories.

We create through stories.  We ARE stories.  

All our photo albums are an attempt to capture and remember our stories.  When we sit together with friends over

a meal we connect through trading stories.  People come to me in therapy to heal their story.     

Exodus is not just a powerful story.  It is the greatest story of all time.  It is the original story of Freedom.  And it is

OUR story.  

This is so important that God takes great care to teach us how to create and tell this story as it unfolds.  

God first shows us how to  be intentional about our story.  God tells us what he is going to do throughout Exodus

and then he does it.   The lesson I take from this, is that it is not enough to just think about my story and enjoy it

for myself as a fantasy.  I must set my intentions and then put them into action.  

God  teaches us is that we all have the right to a story of freedom.  That oppression is created from fear and that

story NEVER ends well.   It may take standing up to bullies to defend that right.  We may have to be fierce.  For

ourselves and others.   It is never too late.  Even if we are 80 years old, we have the power to stand up for

freedom.  

God shows us that when we create our story out of fear, we create the very thing we fear.  Pharoah was afraid of

a leader rising up to free the Israelites,  so he acted in ways that helped create that very thing he feared, within his

own house.  

The Israelites were a whole nation and complete generation of people who were raised with fear as their task

master.  They lost their gift of creating their story of hope and freedom.    They could not remember how.  So God

had to come down and show them.   God had to create and leave for us a lasting story.  A guide how to create our

story.  One that would not be forgotten, but passed down for generations.  

Even Moses,  the hero in the greatest story of all time, was burdened with fear and doubt all along the way.  Just

when it seemed like fear and doubt would win the battle inside  Moses, encouragement and support showed up.

Either from Miriam or Aaron or God himself.  

Before the locust plague Moses has doubts about how this story is  going to turn out.  God reassures him by

making a distinction.  It is here that God says, I have hardened Pharaoh’s heart.  He makes it clear that he is still

the story teller.  HE is in charge of this story.  And where Moses’s imagination for what is possible  is limited,

God’s is not.  

He explains that is important to imagine, intend, create and tell a story so powerful that it will be told and

remembered for generations.  It will serve as a lamp to light the way through the darkness.

We even get very explicit instructions on how to re-tell the story through the Passover Seder.  Down to what to

eat, how to sit and what to wear.  

God is telling us, and at the same time showing us first hand the power of creating and telling our story.  A story

powerful enough to  beat back slavery, fear, darkness and even death.  

Do we contain this power?  The power to create a story of miracles and wonders?  A story that can overcome fear

and oppression?  A story that can beat back darkness and even death?  

I would argue yes.  We have a spark of God within us.  Not only do we have the ability to create through story.

But it is our right.  It is our heritage.  It is our responsibility..  And it is necessary for Tikkun Olam.  

There are modern day stories all around us.   Those who created their own powerful story.  Nelson Mendella, Eli

Weisel, Victor Frankle, Mother Theresa,  just to scratch the surface.  I am sure you can think of several without

even working too hard.   

These people are not different from us.  They are not figments of our imaginations.  They are real.  It is not that

they are immune to fear, anger, hatred or doubt.  What makes them the  narrator of their story is that took these

enemies head on.  They faced down fear with strength and faith.  They conquered hatred with hope.  They

refused to be enslaved.  They believed in the right to freedom.  They created light out of darkness.  Not just for

themselves but for all of us.  And that story is so powerful that it will be told for generations.  

So how do we face our fears and find the path to freedom?  How do we create our story and bring forth our

miracles into the world?

I am still working on this piece myself.  I am trying to hear the lessons given to us in Exodus.  I am looking my fear

in the face to find the clues to my slavery.  To where I am not free.

I was afraid to speak to you today.  But I decided to face down that fear and do it anyway.  Every time I thought

my doubt and fear would win, Rebecca was there to encourage me.   I was afraid to go back to work after 17

years of being a stay at home mom.  My imagination was limited as to what I could possibly create as a career for

myself.  Leah Rubin loaned me her imagination.  She Believed in what was possible, when I could not.  And then

what was created was was even bigger than that.   

We all have the right to be free.  

We have the spark of God within us to create our story of freedom and faith.  To bring forth our miracles into the

world.

We need to dream our story as big as we possibly can.  Where our imagination is limited, God’s is not.

It will require we look our fear in the face.  It is the clue to where we are enslaved.

We must consciously set and share our intentions then enact them.

We may have to stand up to bullies.  Even if we are 80 years old.  It is never too late.

And when it looks like fear and doubt might win–we must encourage each other.

Shabbat Shalom

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