Passover is a time where every Jew reflects on the Exodus from Egypt. From the time of slavery to the ten plagues to the splitting of the red seas. Its a holiday where we remember wandering in the desert in hope of the Promised Land. We refrain from eating bread type foods and replace it with a flat lifeless piece of cracker. And every Passover, every Rabbi talks about reflection and overcoming modern day slavery. The slavery of ones self. The bondage that we put on ourselves.
I'm too fat. I'm too skinny. I'm too dark. I'm not dark enough. Am I too gay? I'm ugly. No one likes me. No one cares. If he loves me, why does he treat me like this?
These are the negativities we face in world, plus more. And two years ago, when I moved from Oakland to Sacramento, this was the slavery for me. I found myself in an abusive relationship that started out verbal but ended in physical. There were few good times but they were few and far between. He hated his life, his job, his car and always wondered why bad things happened. I was tricked into doing things I didn't want to do. I found myself wondering why I was being treated the way I was. 'Did I deserve to be called an idiot?' 'Did I deserve to be talked to like I'm five?' 'Was it my fault that he hit me?' 'Why do I let it?' 'Why can't I leave?'
It was one hell of an Egypt for me. I would wake up hating life, hating myself and hating everything. Just like he did. I felt I could do no better. Like this was as good as it would get.
Then Moses came. But I called him- college.
It was as if The Holy One, baruch sh'mo, opened the Red Seas and said, "Cross!" I was accepted into college in Long Beach and next thing I knew it; I flew down to visit on Monday, found a place Tuesday, flew back to Sacramento and started packing on Wednesday. My best friend, Ivan, didn't hesitate to saddle up the pickup, drive from Oakland and move me, my cat and all my stuff to Southern California. No real goodbyes. Only empty promises that I would keep in touch with him. And then, there was the desert.
The two relationships, and I use the term very loosely, I had after my Egypt were very short lived. It was time to start healing, and acting out was the only way I knew to show it. I found professional help and new friends to help me overcome. Even though I never lost contact with old friends, it hurt that I was so far away. School came and went. I could not find work, but had Unemployment to keep me afloat. But that had an expiration date. And it was getting very close to that date.
Just like my ancestors in the wilderness, there was manna from above that fell every so often. And as quickly as the journey began, it ended. And then I found myself in the happiest state that I was in before Sacramento. I found myself in love again and he was in love with me. He cares for my thoughts and my opinions. He makes me laugh, a lot. He isn't afraid to be patient when I am being impatient. We create balance and not chaos. We make love and eradicate hate. We aren't afraid to argue because no one is put down.
Then, I was forced back to Oakland, found work and he came along for the ride. Now, there is no more wandering for this Jew. This is my Promised Land.
May yours be closer than you can see. Ken Yehi Ratzon.