The story of Moses is epic. It’s about a mothers love, self-discovery, plagues, the parting of a sea, the Ten Commandments and the destruction of a golden idol. It is truly a journey from bondage to freedom. How do we relate this trek to the “land of milk and honey” to our everyday lives? I’ve personally never been enslaved, wandered for years through a desert or seen a miracle as great as the parting of the Sea of Reeds, but I am familiar with journeys and I can tell you we all have an Egypt in our lives.
So what is your Egypt? It can be anything that doesn’t work for you in your life. Sometimes it can feel like slavery or bondage, but it doesn’t have to. Maybe your boss, your job or your career is so demanding it weighs you down. It could be a person, a situation, or a frame of mind that is frustrating or undesirable. What would you change about your life to make it better?
I just recently experienced part of the Jewlicious festival on the Queen Mary this last month. It was great. My husband stayed home with the kids while I got to go out with my girlfriend and check out the VIP party and concert. It reminded me of my college days, with a lot less intoxication and a much earlier bedtime. Just being around all the young people there made me feel younger, made me reminisce about the days when I was free to do what I wanted and I didn’t have the bonds of my children and my family and my many responsibilities. It was incredibly freeing.
It made me wonder how much my little ones were weighing me down. How could my family be my Egypt? I love my children and my husband. They are everything I could possibly ask for. Sure, I sometimes dream of being a sultry Bond girl in an action-packed thrilling adventure. The dreams are fabulous! But when my toddler wakes me up, I’m flooded with feelings of love and adventure in a completely different way. So maybe it’s all about perspective. Maybe my children aren’t holding me back, maybe it’s romanticizing my life before them. I believe, this year, my Egypt is thinking those days of youthful wild abandonment (and not having a husband and children to “answer” to) will always be better than what’s ahead.
If that’s true, how do I start moving towards my land of milk and honey? I have to consider the reality of what my life would be like without my family as I know it. I would lose my best friend. I wouldn’t have the benefit of enjoying my husbands home cooked meals or laughing at his jokes everyday. We would split time between our children and miss out on some of life’s precious moments. I am blessed to have and work hard at keeping a healthy marriage that I treasure and enjoy. Giving that up would do nothing to improve my quality-of-life. So what have I truly lost from my youth that I feel I can never get back?
The obvious? I’ll never sleep in again. I think that one hurts the most. Taking five minutes to run in and out of the store is long gone. It takes me five minutes just to get the kids out of the car and into the double stroller. I will definitely not make another decision in my life in which I won’t consider my husband and children. Going out? Having fun? I can still technically do those things, in moderation. As long as I plan accordingly, I can still go out with my girlfriends to a rock concert or a movie. If I’m not driving, I can let loose and have drinks too! Will I drink as much as I used to? Probably not. Will I stay up as late as I used to? Probably not. Will I sleep it off like I used to? Definitely not. Can I live with that? Absolutely!
I will start the pilgrimage from this Egypt of mine by painting a complete picture of the many blessings in my life. I will include as many of the things I loved to do before I had kids in the picture because those are the things that link the carefree person I used to be to the more balanced person I am thrilled to be right now. In order to mark this embarkation towards my promised land, I even got back on the treadmill today! (My quest for a fabulous post baby body is an Egypt for another article). Our lives are made up of many adventures. Sometimes they are short and small and sometimes they’re long and epic like Moses’. What does your ideal destination look like? What is your Egypt? Passover is on its way. Find a way to make it your own, without spending 40 years in a desert.
May the Schwartz be with you.