I’d like to explain what Passover means to me.

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan. It commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. And, by following the rituals of Passover, we have the ability to relive and experience the true freedom that our ancestors gained. It is a time of remembering the past and celebrating the present. Okay, that’s the textbook definition…. Now let me tell you what it really means…

Passover is not only for Jewish people… it is for anyone who has made a change in their life. Passover was for me the day I decided not to commit suicide and reached out for help. It was for me the day I got off the couch in a drunken stupor and realized I wasn’t living… I was barely surviving. Passover was for me the day I walked onto a plane for California and walked away from the misery of the past. Passover is my holiday, and I am celebrating it with the people I love in a place I love. Passover brought me home… a place I never thought I’d find.

Letting go of the past is easier said than done. So many of us are hung up on our past — in the love we felt we had but lost, on past behaviour that has created a particular pattern in our life that is unhealthy or the opportunity that we missed out on. But, we also know it’s an unproductive space to dwell in… not only because it leads nowhere, but because it might hold you back from a better future. Maybe even from your destiny.

The thing is, it takes courage to admit something’s not working. It takes, even more, courage to admit that you sometimes can’t force it to work. In our society, quitting is seen as such a negative. We say things like “never give up,” or “try, try again.” But sometimes it is a matter of being honest with yourself, acknowledging the truth of the situation (and being honest about what you want) and giving yourself permission to try something different; to rewrite your script!

This isn’t just about our relationships with others; this is about the relationship with ourselves. Our past can be like a full suitcase that’s packed too tight — full of past issues and hurt. It gets so heavy, we find it hard to lug around. It weighs us down, so we no longer travel and experience beautiful destinations. What we need to do is unpack, discard some things, pack others away in their proper place in our closet and then set out on new adventures with a lighter load.

But why is this so hard?! Maybe it’s not just the fear of quitting. Doing the same thing is also the safe and easy choice. It’s easier to stay in a job you hate than look for a new one. Or to keep going in the relationship, you’re in than face the daunting prospect of dating, heartbreak, and unrequited love! Even when your present misery is debilitating, there can be a strange comfort and familiarity to it. But, while that kind of suffering is slowly eroding, the fear of doing something new, fixing the old behavior, and of actually trying is a more dramatic concern that can be paralyzing.

The thing is, what you’re most afraid of is rarely the thing that happens to you. For me, embracing The Fear and moving on from the past is one of the bravest, most vital things we can do as humans. When I look back at my life to date, those are the moments I’m most proud. And, you know what? They also far outweigh the failures or key learnings, as I like to call them. If I have a regret, it’s that I sometimes didn’t move on sooner, once I recognized something wasn’t working. But you have to allow your heart to catch up to your head sometimes, too.

The courage to take that leap of faith into a different future, even when you’re feeling vulnerable and insecure, has not only shaped my character but my life too. It isn’t always easy, and there are times when we all latch on to the status quo and decide to coast for a bit. The thing is, the great moments in life, the ones that transform and empower, are the ones when we break free and move on.

For every woman ever called a whore or paid less money than the man at the desk next to you… Passover is for you. For every black child called a “nigger” and openly hated by people, you don’t even know… Passover is for you. For the person in an abusive relationship afraid to leave… Passover is for you. For the child sexually violated in the middle of the night… Passover is for you. For every gay man called a “faggot” or refused civil rights enjoyed by heterosexuals across America… Passover is for you. For the homeless, the prostitutes and the drug addicted… Passover is for you.

Passover is for anyone who stands up and says, “No more! I will not allow this to continue in my life… Today is the day I walk towards freedom!”

Happy Passover from my heart to yours…

This is my journey… this is my life!

Rob Cantrell

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