We tell many stories throughout the Jewish holiday cycle. Narratives of our ancestors’ journeys, their accomplishments, and their challenges; historical victories and devastations – these and more are retold.
Living and telling our story is a central component of Passover. We gather with family, friends, and community for a meal in which we tell (and eat) our meta-story of redemption. We add personal and family stories to the printed haggadah (the seder book itself is called a “telling”) and thus we add meaning and layers. (Remember the year that we opened the door for Elijah and a stray animal came in the house? Remember the year you were for allowed to drink wine instead of grape juice and how you felt? Remember when…..)
Telling our stories – communal, familial, and personal – is powerful. The weight and impact may magnify for difficult stories. Stories can push us to confront our weaknesses, to address pain, to acknowledge what we need to grieve. Telling may challenge us.
It is when telling challenges us that possibilities are especially potent. Framing a painful family moment differently may bring new understanding. Telling what others need to hear (but don’t want to hear) may bring relief. (Thus is only possible if the environment is safe.)
As we prepare our homes and hearts for Passover, think about what stories you want to tell, which ones you need to tell, and which ones you need to hear.