Disciples Of The Journey: A Coverfolk Passover
(On freeing ourselves of the things that hold us back)


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Back in 2007, when Cover Lay Down started up, I still identified as a Jewnitarian. We still took the kids to a nearby stream to wash away their sins in breadcrumbs in the Fall; some Fridays, we even remembered to light the candles and break bread together. And twice – in 2010, and again in 2012 – I penned Passover sets for this blog, which played off of the literal story of the Haggadah, and its commandments.

But as my family and I have come to embrace the community at our nearby UU congregation, things have changed. These days, our rituals are discursive, creative, driven by the pace and partition of the year from school year to summer: the opening night and the closing show; the planned observation; choir Sundays; the folk festival where we live in our hearts all year, and return to recreate once more each August.

Color me converted, I guess: this, too, is religion if the God you serve is the just community. Unitarian Universalism has brought an embrace of the concept of mindfulness, if not always its realization. I know what I yearn for, now. And in my best moments, when vision and faith serve love and right relationship, I suppose what I experience is holy, in its way.

These moments where I can realize that Jerusalem are fleeting, sometimes. In a world of practicality and entropic drift, we are our own enemies, arguing to win. Our screens exacerbate the inevitable distance between minds. The kids are sick again; my father ages; the world intrudes, ever challenging the sacred self.

But a friend reminds me that Passover isn’t really about the Hebrew Exodus. It is, she says, “about freeing ourselves from the things in life that are holding us back”. And I think about the elderchild, and how hard is was to drive away from the hospital again without her. I think about the wee one, on the cusp of thirteen, coming home in pain every day. I think about driving across the state every weekend to sit with my father, and how much I missed it when my weekends were too full. I think about how tired I am, sometimes, at the end of the day, after rehearsals and school committee meetings and a classroom of chaos, stuffed to stifling with a hundred kids struggling to survive.

And so we return to the figurative table, dipping bitterness into tears and wine. We tell the story of when we were slaves in Egypt, and escaped. The roadmap is retold, in song. And we become disciples of the journey, not the destination, our leavetaking plotted in the stars.

We need only take that first step. To embrace the loved things, and push away those that enslave us. The fear. The nervousness. The intimidating distance. The preferences for things-as-they-are. The entangled, leavened things we define as ourselves, and us as them.

Melancholy, maybe. But empowering too, to name it all, and still know the promised land.



Always ad-free and artist centric, Cover Lay Down has been exploring the ethnographic intersection of culture, community, and shared song since 2007.

Category: Holiday Coverfolk One comment »

One Response to “Disciples Of The Journey: A Coverfolk Passover
(On freeing ourselves of the things that hold us back)

  1. Kevin

    The mix I can take or leave; mostly leave, frankly. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been dropping by for nearly as long as you’ve been doing this and I very much appreciate your curation. But it’s always been hit or miss for me, whether I like what you select. I don’t imagine you’d expect any different. Nonetheless, over the years, my listening has been significantly infiltrated by songs I’ve learned of here. Thank you.

    Though the mix didn’t do much for me this time, your introduction to it did. It’s your writing, your curation of the human experience, that keeps me coming back at least as much as your curation of music, not that the two are mutually exclusive. That they aren’t is often what makes music so compelling. But it’s those things to which you train your eye and mind, your facility to express that which you’ve observed or experienced that makes this far more than a covers blog. For instance, I’ve long considered your musings on teaching so-called at-risk youth a compelling form of qualitative research.

    I know life intrudes and priorities shift as time elapses (don’t the hours grow shorter as the days go by?”). Your posts have grown fewer and your writing frequently shorter and more perfunctory as the blog has understandably slipped down your to-do list. But, this one was an exquisitely poignant, fully realized expression of the human condition, of your journey. And I thought just now might be a good time to tell you explicitly how much I appreciate you sharing it and just how well you did so.

    “Time was to change my ideas about God, the devil, the Bible, and the Sabbath; but integrity, honesty, truth-telling, and the overwhelming sense of the sovereignty of whatever made and governed life, no matter how named, were in my guts as in my mind, and not to be ousted.”

    Angus MacLean


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