This week for the first time in well over a year, my family loaded up my SUV with our pots and pans and kosher foods and a lot of “stuff” to make the trip down to Florida to see and hug my mom. It had been way too long! My brothers and their families (now vaccinated) joined us, too, and we spent a lot of time doing – not too much. Safely quarantining in a different place. But this time – together.
In one of the many hours that we spent just hanging out at the condo we had found in Kissimmee, my brother Joey asked how the trip down was (we had driven through the night). I went into my all too familiar song about how much I missed my mini-van. How we all miss my mini-van. We must have been going on about that white Toyota Sienna for quite a while when Joey asked what we missed the most: The answers came pouring out: The ease of the sliding doors, the comfort of the road trip where there was always an abundance of space no matter how many people or air fryers or pots we packed. On and on we went because …We loved everything about that mini-van! Or so I remembered.
After a bit of time, my brother and sister in law and parents started to laugh. They remembered my mini van totally differently. They remembered how on one side of the mini van the door had stopped opening and closing. (It would have cost a lot to fix it so we opted instead to just enter and exit from the left). They also remembered how my mini-van was stolen from my driveway by a few teenagers who used it as their getaway car. They reminded me that I was sort of disappointed when the police called to tell me they had found it. (It never quite drove the same or smelled the same again). They also reminded me of how the top of the roof used to make a crazy noise where the windshield had disconnected somehow. It sounded like balls were dropping onto my roof even though I tried to convince everyone that the sound could also be beautiful and pointed out how much more we delighted in the silence when we stopped at a light. And then sometimes, parts would literally just fly off of the car. I promise you – I had forgotten every one of those things. All I remembered was how much I loved that mini-van!
Memory is a funny thing. And as we go into this final stretch of Passover I am reminded of that. You see, Passover is all about the power of love between God and our People. We remember how God loved us so much that God heard our cries and responded, how God redeemed us from our enslavement. We remember all of the miracles that God did for us and praise God for every single one. Even singing that any one of those things (alone) would have been enough (dayeinu!) but the miracles kept coming.
God, on the other hand, remembered how WE loved God so much that we were willing to pack up a few things and rush out of Egypt with only a backpack and faith and a promise of unbridled love.
We remembered all of the things that God did for us and God remembers all of the things that we did for God. We ALL focused on the love. We all focused on the blessing.
My mini van wasn’t perfect. Our ancestors weren’t perfect. And of course, we aren’t perfect either. But what I love about this holiday of Passover is the reminder that we all get to choose what we’ll pass over and what we’ll focus on. And it’s that choice, that commitment, and that selective memory and focus that make for the most beautiful of relationships and memories.