Imagine feeling trapped in a narrow restrictive place, one that you wish to escape from but are afraid to leave. You yearn for the beauty and freedom of the wide-open space you see shining before you, but you have learned to be afraid. The way out is through your own deep fears, which seem as deep as the sea.
This is the mystic version of the story of the exodus from Egypt, which we celebrate during Passover this week. And, in so many ways, it is a reflection of our current restricted lives. We, like the Israelites, are trapped in our personal version of slavery.
Egypt was a narrow place along the banks of the Nile. In fact, It is called Mitzrayin or narrow place in Hebrew. But for the Israelites, it was also a spiritually and emotionally narrow place that they needed to leave. They needed to embrace the beauty of a startling burning sun reflecting off crystal white sands and blue waters, where they could learn to be free.
It is said that only twenty percent of the Israelites had the courage to leave their old way of life behind. Most people chose old rigid limits rather than believe in their ability to spiritually and emotionally blossom. Freedom looked beautiful but terrifying, as they faced the Reed Sea (yes I spelled that correctly) with an army behind them.
We all know the movie version of this story with Moses lifting his rod and the sea splitting. And yet, there is a different story, one that is more personal. Before the sea splits the people are told to go forward, to walk into the sea, and only then will the way open before them. Only when they move into and through their fears will they be able to understand and experience freedom.
We are all in a narrow place yearning for our freedom. But the way out is through our fears, our own Reed Sea. How many of us are willing to walk away from old ways that do not serve us, to walk through the liquid tunnel of our fears? We have the opportunity to be part of the twenty percent that dances and sings on the other side of the sea. The choice is ours.