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Freedom, Renewal and Hope

By Debra Farbman, PhD | March 1, 2013

Every year whenever March comes around, I look at my calendar to see when Passover will be that year. I have to admit that Passover is my favorite holiday because the focus of the celebration is on freedom, renewal and community. I particularly like the Seder when family and friends, young and old, come together to tell the story of Passover. This is the story of how the Israelites liberated themselves from bondage; it is the story of the struggle they went through before they reached their destination to live in freedom.

For anyone with an eating disorder, sitting at a holiday table this month, be it in celebration of Passover or Easter can, in and of itself, feel like slavery. The meals are endless, the food overflowing and the way to one’s own freedom seems difficult to contemplate. However, the story of Passover reminds us that courage is important and that fierce struggle can result in freedom. This is a story worth listening hard to.

Passover and Easter are also about renewal and rebirth. Both highlight the beginning of spring and the beginning of a new life. They focus on one’s ability to clean house and to dress up. New clothes– hats included!- are part of the holidays and one struts about looking forward to new commencements and a change in life. With renewal comes hope and excitement of the possibility of change.

Passover and Easter focus on getting together with friends and family. The holidays are about a sense of belonging and seeking out people to be with and celebrate. They are about being with people one knows and loves but they are also about making new friendships and connections. It is easy to be at a dinner table, deep in one’s thoughts and worries, with a focus on food blinding the night. No matter where you are these holidays, look up, slowly make your way around the table and think for a moment about each person who is there. Take another moment and remember the meaning of the celebration itself.

For all of us, there are moments when it can take some courage to sit through a family meal. Easter and Passover are holidays dedicated to courage, hope and renewal. Let them be, at least for a moment, the gift, not the struggle, they are meant to be.