Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Between Chores And Personal Freedom

My brother and I were very familiar with the concept of a burden, in our home it meant doing our chores. My mother taught us to always do those first and then we would be free. We didn’t help much around the house so our tasks were mainly doing homework and practicing the cello- for my brother and doing homework for me. But sometimes even completing those proved too much. I  Still  remember that during the summer holiday, when my mother returned  home from work, at noon, and found us  still asleep, she would move the shutters and say gently ”I don’t like meeting the morning when I come home at noon”  we both felt ashamed.

In my turn I followed my mother’s example and taught my daughters about burdens and tasks. I have to admit that my girls were much more diligent than I was at their age. As they both played a musical instrument we woke up every day  at 6am and started the day with practice (we were not very popular among our neighbors, and had to move from our apartment to a detached house). This way when they came back from school in the afternoon they were already free and able to play.

My mother often said that one of the less attractive aspects of getting old was the nagging presence of a burden. At the time I  didn’t understand what she meant,  for me that  word  had  a  concrete connotation. But now I suspect that with old age my mother started to experience a different kind of burden, one which consists of fears and worries and as a result she started to “to obsess.” According to the dictionary, the verb "to obsess" means “to have the mind excessively preoccupied with a single emotion or topic." I believe that she was disliked the fact that she could not push away those fears and worries.

As I advance in age, I am getting to be more like mother, physically I look  like her and mentally I often hear my mother ‘s phrases come out of my mouth. Generally I don’t mind this development; it makes me feel closer to her. But sometimes I too experience  that nagging presence of the burden, and now I begin to realize what it entails.

 I believe that my mother was always preoccupied with the issue of  personal freedom and was looking for ways to achieve and maintain it. Taking care of one's chores first was an easy way of doing it and she passed it on to us from an early age. But with this new type of burden freedom became harder to capture and then to keep. My mother never said it explicitly but I feel that what she disliked about old age was the gradual  loss of freedom.

 My mother had a wonderful sense of humor; her forte was to tell apropos stories and anecdotes. So apropos Passover and the Israelites’ long journey to achieve freedom,  I  wish to make my  journey lighter and hope  that it will not take me  40 years to be truly free.

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