“There is a knife sticking out of my heart and a constant trickle of blood comes out… every so often the knife gets moved, twisted and the blood gushes out. I do my job at work, take care of what I need to at home, do the shopping and the errands and marvel that no one sees that I am leaving a trail of blood behind me.” This is what a woman at a support group meeting said in explaining what it felt like when her child didn’t let her know that she had given birth.
I was facilitating a meeting for parents whose children do not speak to them, either because the courts took their children, or due to alienation. Some of their children are adults and have chosen religion over relationship, worshipping a God that would have people shun each other because of beliefs rather then come together in unity.
As many of us prepare to set the table for tonight’s Seder, or continue this Holy Week into Easter, I am reminded of how many tables will have empty seats. It’s not because these people are no longer on Earth, but because children, grandchildren, parents, or siblings believe or worship differently; leading to a bloody trail of broken hearts, and nobody notices.
What is freedom? Since the meeting I keep turning this question over and over in my mind… Wondering how to alleviate the pain that we as humans inflict on one another.
I wish I could take the knife out and stop the bleeding, for us as humans to mend the broken fences, heal the wounds and put relationship over religion, love over needing to be right, and compassion over stubbornness. Perhaps I have become a pessimist with time, but in this moment I don’t see that happening. So I wonder… perhaps freedom is what Dr. Edith Eva Eger writes in her book. The Choice. Perhaps freedom is embracing our trauma, noticing it, honoring it, talking about it, naming it. So that when the knife gets twisted or we get another stab, we stop and breathe and notice our own pain. We name it, we watch the blood rushing out and we say to ourselves, “This hurts. This really hurts.” Perhaps we even give ourselves permission to cry, knowing that the pain will move past us, the wave will pass over us and maybe, just maybe, next year we can have Shalom – Wholeness!
May we be blessed to notice our own wounds, the scabs that form over them, or our own scars. May we know that when they are poked or prodded they bleed, and we hurt. May we give each other the space to feel this pain. May we grant ourselves the compassion and courage to name what hurts us. Most of all, may we posses the courage to feel and express all of what moves through us hopefully setting us free.
A Nissen Pessach (Yiddish)
Chag Somayach (Hebrew)