#Blog Exodus for 1 Nisan: The Narrow Places of Mitzrayim

Driving Through the Narrow Places

(I’m using #blogexodus, an idea hatched by my friend and collegue Rabbi Phylis Sommers, as an excuse to start up this new blog.  For more information about #blogexodus, please visit http://imabima.blogspot.com/2012/03/blogexodus-and-exodusgram.html)

Since moving to New Jersey from the Hartford, Connecticut 6 years ago, I have made countless NJ – CT roundtrips.  In fact, the drive has become a rather relaxed, almost auto-pilot affair… with one significant exception. One which I experienced once again this past week while returning from a conference in Boston.

A significant portion of the trip passes along the Merritt Parkway.  Outside of rush hours, the Merritt is a rather easy pleasant ride, that is until you pass Bridgeport and approach the dreaded “narrows”.  Between Bridgeport and Greenwich, there is a section of highway where the lanes narrow considerable to accomodate what seems like an eternity of construction and eliminated shoulders.  Add in a generous sprinkling of curves and some crazed northeast drives and you have a recipe for some white knuckle moments.

It doesn’t matter whether it is day or night, I can feel my body tense up and my attention becoming laser-focused as I enter the narrows.  You can feel the danger all around you as other drivers come barreling toward you from behind, box you in, force you perilously close to the retaining wall or take curves so quickly they are almost begging to spin out and come crashing into you.  Just as things become almost too oppressive to bear any longer, you find yourself passing by Greenwich and noticing that the lanes are wider, shoulders have reappeared and there is room to maneuver between you and your fellow travelers.  You breathe in this breath of freedom and your body begins to relax, your focus returns to normal, your hands loosen up on the wheel and the drive becomes relaxed and peaceful once more.

The passage through the narrows of the Merritt or of Mitzrayim or of life in general, can be painful.  The key to managing them is to keep your eye on the redemptive freedom that awaits if you can only persevere and make it out to the other side.

“Under pressure your vision narrows. Some objects appear larger than they really are and others fade away. Your view of reality gets (even more) distorted. Re-balance now by asking, “What do you know to be true?”” (via Great Work)

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