Our traditions are going to look a little different this year, and that’s okay.
I know you might be missing church or synagogue or the ocean or wherever you choose to worship, but, the way I see it, the good stuff is always right where you are. And that’s home, for the foreseeable future.
Nobody plans for a global pandemic, as evidenced by the lack of masks and toilet paper. So in this holy week for so many people around the world, instead of focusing on what we can’t do – let’s celebrate what we can.
Being home together has given us all a chance to know each other more deeply, both our strengths and our shortcomings. No matter your faith, isn’t it always a good thing to take stock of what you’re made of?
We have been given an opportunity to take a hard look at ourselves and do better. Practice patience. (Keyword: practice.) Explore how we communicate. (Stop yelling at each other.) Promote problem solving. (First, try fixing things with your brother.) Show our children what it means to work our way through. (Resilience is a big word.)
I’m not saying this has been easy. There’s nothing easy about these days. Not for the working parents trying to homeschool their kids or the stay-at-home moms who have stayed at home all along. These days are hard, and they feel different, and we have good ones and bad ones and other ones when we don’t know what day it is at all.
During the Seder, we ask, “Why is this night different from all other nights?”
This year, we have new answers.
The Passover story is a retelling of the Jewish people’s Exodus from Egypt. There are trials and locusts and plagues that predate COVID-19 – but in the end, the sea parts and makes way to a brighter tomorrow. The most hopeful and holy of days for Christians, Easter, too, is a time of rebirth.
I’m sad not to be spending these special days with my friends and family, especially the grands and great-grands. (We’ll try to FaceTime when we light the candles. I’ll send photos of our backyard egg hunt.)
But simple is special, too.
Within the space of one week, my husband and I will have the chance to cook comforting, symbolic meals with our children and share two epic stories of hope from the safe shelter of our home.
Home is a holy place.
My hope for you is that you can let go of what these days should look like to make room for the magic they will be. Let them be silly and joyful and messy and meaningful.
And when it comes to the part when you ask, “Why is this night different?” – and you see a few fewer people around your table this year – maybe it’s to remind us all what’s really important.
Hope. Family. Love. Joy. Home.