Liberation: Theirs and Mine

Last night was the first night of Passover. Aside from cleaning house of all verboten foods, the most celebrated part of the holiday is the seder. From as far back as my childhood, I’ve considered the seder to be a joyous and sometimes boisterous occasion, often lasting into the wee hours of the night. However, since the fateful day of my accident, I tend to anticipate such events through a different prism: I didn’t realize how sub-consciously anxious I was until I played it out in my mind and remembered that a seder is ALL about sitting! Which is why, at the very last minute, I reluctantly bowed out of the dinner I was scheduled to attend last night.

To be fair, Passover is not technically about sitting per se: it’s the one holiday when we are explicitly obligated to lean or recline, pillows and all. The celebration of freedom from slavery entitles us to now rest comfortably. Recline… on a chair… for hours and hours?! No way, not anytime soon. Mea culpa, Moses.

One day, I’m going to invite family and friends to a standing-(room-) only seder.

So though I’d really looked forward to joining the seder, meeting new people, tasting from the traditional foods and sipping a few glasses of wine, I regretfully reneged.

But then this morning, while out for a long walk, and quite by chance, I stumbled across my own version of freedom. Normally, I hobble along on the sidewalks, and across streets and driveways. But today, while passing a park, I decided to take a detour.

Forsythias in full bloom!

Carefully descending the gently sloping hill of grass, I suddenly and by intuition, lifted the cane, sensing that I had no need for it. Quite surprisingly, the uneven and undulating terrain provided the perfect shock-absorption antidote to my own instability. Though the pain in my left foot and up my leg persisted, it was accompanied by a mysterious easing as well. I marveled at my ability to take larger strides than I could on ‘dry’ land, and was thrilled to once again feel both arms swing alongside my body.

I smiled to myself, ever so grateful to have unshackled myself from cane-dom, albeit temporarily, and even if only on uneven ground. A gift from nature. To be sure, my adventure was not as historically significant as that that which the slaves had endured. Nevertheless, it was profoundly meaningful in the context of my own odyssey. A greater sense of liberation than that was hard to imagine.

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