Last week I shared with you that I am in Florida reconnecting, or more appropriately, connecting with family members I didn’t know until recently. The group is increasing and each week my cousins and I are learning more and more about our families. A true blessing. It feels like a major love healing is occurring sending positivity into this world as we shine light on the dark, one small person at a time.
As part of that process, this week each cousin was sharing about their experiences with their grandparents. These would be my father’s parents, the grandparents I never knew. Until this week the reports were all glowing. Then some new stories came to light which mirrored those I had experienced, certain family groups having no contact with others or these grandparents not spending much time with certain children and grandchildren, not unlike what I had experienced. Until now I had thought the only culprit was my mother, only to learn that this unloving behavior was in other family relationships as well.
As I listened, and thought more about families and relationships, it became clear that all that we are experiencing at the national level starts at home. As children, unfortunately some of us were raised in homes that harbored prejudices against certain groups. As I listened to the intermarried cousin’s sadness that Grandma and Grandpa hardly saw them because their dad was not Jewish, I was so struck by the irony, on multiple levels. We Jews have been the victim for so many years of anti-Semitism, but we strike back in kind rather than learn from our experiences of marginalization?! Do we still need to be that afraid of losing our identities, be that self-protective? I know in my parents’ generation and before, those feelings were not uncommon, but I pray we are moving in a better direction with those who come after us.
The parochialism of many of our upbringings is often rejected as we grow in our deeper understanding of the plan HaShem has for all of us, regardless of our individual religions and ethnicities. Judgmental, exclusionary thinking that is reinforced in our families and communities only leads to institutionalizing such negativity, leading our society to a place far from experiencing and mirroring our Abba’s love. In many ways, our divided society is a natural consequence of our upbringings.
Listening to some of the family stories, I felt even more strongly than before the need to break the generational pull toward such divisive behavior, not only for my extended family, but probably for many families, and instead to just love each other. That directive seems so simple, but clearly it is not easy to do. For most families I know have these issues, people not talking to others, and few want to deal with it. Most choose to just interact with those who agree with them rather than tackle the elephant in the room, i.e., bigotry.
This world is designed as a circle of love, with each of us the receiver and transmitter of Divine love. I picture this as a beautiful transcendence of Love from above, to be mediated through us to others and each of us radiating it back to HaShem as we worship and praise Him.
As this amazing feeling of His Love enters you this week, I encourage you to keep it flowing and work through any impediments for its transmittal to another. What an amazing world we will be co-creating, one small person at a time.