Across the world, people are cancelling trips and wondering how they can get refunds on flights and hotel rooms as a result of the novel coronavirus. Especially if you’re like me, you bought the cheapest non-refundable flight available to get you from point A to point B. Handling the stress of cancelling a flight is the cherry on top of the sadness of a cancelled trip. My first cancelled trip to Washington D.C was made easier by the creativity of my coworker to make a virtual lobby day.
I just got off the phone cancelling my second trip, going home for Passover. This one is harder to cope with than a missed work trip. But with the flight easily cancelled I can turn my attention to trying to find the silver lining in this pandemic. Every year, I go back to my family on the east coast and retell the story of the Jewish people escaping from slavery in Egypt. Normally we would all be cramped around a table meant for half as many people as are there, making assembly lines to pass out matzah and charoset. I would hug aunts, uncles and cousins who I hadn’t seen since last year’s seder. The room would be filled with laughter, song and prayer late into the night.
This year, I’ll be in Austin Texas with my family scattered throughout the country. But in times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to fall back to tradition, rituals and reflection. Celebrating freedom may be hard when most of us feel trapped in our homes. But the story of Passover is one of hope for those living in the hardest circumstances. Hope is what has always been done and what we will continue to do this year among this pandemic. I find hope in the ways people are adapting to virtual seders, making creative seder plates. I find excitement from starting new traditions as my family uses a different haggadah for the first time in my life so that we can all have it on our computer screen.
Today I’m not flying home to be with my family and will instead log onto a zoom call. And in a crisis that feels lonely and never ending, we can celebrate the resilience in hardship that we see in the Passover story, gratitude for the technology that enables us to be together and comfort in the ritual of a thousands year old tradition.