April 10, 2015
We jumped off our step study this past Friday to discuss and experience Passover and Easter, which are two beautiful metaphoric holidays for those of us in recovery.
Rabbi Kessler couldn’t be with us so one of our patients gave his interpretation of the story of Passover and what it means for us today. He challenged the patients and asked, “Who or what are you a slave to today?” And then he asked, “What are you willing to do about it?” From Alan Cohen he read:
“Like the newborn Jewish nation, there is a part of us that is tempted to return to the old when we are frightened. As we face uncharted territory, our sense of insecurity bids us to take refuge in our past. But, at such a moment of anxiety, we forget that the past did not work for us, that is precisely why we left.”
The patient really did a beautiful job and with absolutely no advanced notice!
We continued to talk about growth, change, and transformation.
“The day comes when remaining the same becomes more painful than the risk to grow. And when that happens there are many goodbyes. We leave old patterns, old friends, old lovers, old ideas, and some cherished beliefs. Loss and growth are so often one and the same.” -Phoebe Eng
Charlene, one of our spiritual leaders, led us in meditation after the patients rang Tibetan bells and shared several spiritual readings. Our song for meditation was ”Break The Shell” by India Arie. Afterwards, while the patients ate cupcakes, I played a song that always makes me feel hopeful:”Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles.
Each of the patients received an Easter egg with chocolates, a meditation stone, and a special blessing. In small groups, they shared their own blessings:
- “May you have many wonderful friends who love you just the way you are, yet challenge you to be all that you can be.”
- “May you trust your inner voice and listen.”
- “May you stand steady in the face of the one aspect of life that is certain: uncertainty.”
- “May you cultivate the ability to laugh at yourself and eliminate the habit of feeling sorry for yourself.”
These are just a few; many of the patients shared messages that were just perfect!
We then passed around our bag of “If” Questions:
Q: If you could go back and express gratitude to one person, who would it be?
A: My grandmother. When I was 5 or 6 she bought me a chocolate chip ice cream cone and I told her I didn’t like chocolate chips, so she took out every single one.
Q: If G-d could appear to you in any form, what would you chose?
A: A talking flower.
Q: If you could name a regret that continues to haunt you, what would you answer?
A: Pawning sentimental jewelry that my father gave to me.
In the small groups there was a lot of sharing, gratitude, authenticity, letting go, and spiritual growth.
Lastly, I want to share how happy I was to hear that so many patients chose to “spiritually feed themselves” this weekend; 12 attended Passover Seder, 10 went to Good Friday Stations of the Cross Service, and 25 patients attended Easter Sunday Services.
I am so blessed.
Reverend Laurie Durgan