Jews all over the world are celebrating the holiday of Passover this week, as it's been celebrated for thousands of years. One of the rituals is to hold a meal called a seder, complete with readings and songs.
The core theme of Passover is the journey from slavery to freedom. And the story that is told at the seder and passed on from generation to generation is the story of the Jews exodus from slavery under the Pharaohs in Egypt to freedom as a people in the Promised Land.
The Hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzraim. Mitzraim (in Hebrew) is closely connected to the phrase "Narrow Place." In a metaphorical way, this means that the holiday of Passover is a time to recognize and honor the ways in which we have all escaped from whatever narrow places we have been in - in our environments and in our souls.
About a year and a half ago, I was knocked flat by a massive relapse of my chronic pain condition. It's taken until now for me to climb out of it - with the help of some wonderfully wise and talented health care clinicians.
However, I'd still be in that narrow place if it weren't for the outstretched arms of my husband, Richard. My clinicians got me better, but Richard heals me.
During this period of pain and darkness, I read and re-read one of my favorite poems. It's by Emily Dickinson and this is the first stanza: