This Is Redemption
We recently concluded the eight days of Pesach (Passover), the Jewish holiday which commemorates the Jewish nations redemption from Egypt. It’s a 2,000 year old story that we repeat year after year: The Jews were enslaved by the Egyptians, and by the Grace of God, they were released. They were free.
It’s a nice story, but what does it have to do with us? What does the story of our ancestors leaving Egypt have anything to do with our lives now? Pesach is not only about the redemption from Egypt: It’s our story, it’s about our personal exiles. It’s about making ourselves free from the things that chain us down; it’s about finding a way to connect to a higher, holier source in the face of an ever-present master.
I can only imagine what it must have felt like to be enslaved in Egypt: Working day in and day out under the hot sun, with prison guards standing over you at all times, their eyes watching your every move, prepared at any moment to slash you with their thick whips. Day in, day out. Those days may be long gone, but we’re far from free people.
Think about the fears, and worries that your mind is chained to. Think about the pressures and stresses that your body is held captive by. What are the things that hold you down? What are the things that make you a prisoner?
In this day, in this time, we are all slaves; slaves to our jobs, slaves to money, slaves to other people’s thoughts and reactions. We are even slaves to ourselves; to our egos, and to our self-preservation. This is a fast paced, dog eat dog world we’re living in; it’s hard not to get caught up. That, to me, is exile.
The exile that chains me to the earth is my inability to just let myself be. The prison guard that whips my scarred back day in and day out is my fear of never being good enough. It’s the fear that creeps into my head as soon as I wake up in the morning; it’s the voice in my head that tells me that my writing will never be good enough; it’s the silent pain that convinces me that I’m not giving my marriage my all; it’s the piercing look I give myself in the mirror that tells me that my skin around my eyes is starting to sag; it’s the voice that convinces me that I’ll never be good enough.
You will never be good enough.
The question is, how does one get out of exile?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t know. I’ve tried, over and over again, and have found myself back where I started. These thoughts and fears have interfered with my life, my relationships, and my work. And every time I manage to let go, they find their way back again.
Here I am, back at square one. It’s a long road from exile to redemption, but it has to begins somewhere.
My road begins today; it begins with showing up for my job, and showing up for my relationships. It continues with positive thoughts, no matter how frilly and silly that may seem, and is followed by giving life my all. It goes on by smiling, and greeting each new day as it comes. My exile ends with enjoying everything, come what may.
I may not always write as many chapters as I planned, my husband and I may still disagree on things, and perhaps the skin around my eyes will continue to grow long Those things may not change, but my attitude, and my beliefs can change. And that is the difference between exile and redemption.
May we all merit to discover what our personal exiles are, and find our paths towards our clear redemptions.