When you are running late to leave the house for a special lunch downtown with old friends visiting DC from California, but you realize your dog needs to go outside first, so you let him into the backyard while you go upstairs to take a shower…
…then you come downstairs, dressed and ready to go, to let the dog in, but when he trots in the door, he deposits paw-size drips of bright red in his path from the kitchen to his place on the pale gray rug in the dining room, the same room where you will be hosting your Passover Seder two nights from now…
So do you ignore the injured dog ( you are really running late) and sweep out of the house in order to arrive on time to the very nice restaurant downtown where your husband booked a table for you and your old friends…
Do you stop to see the cause of the bright red drips?
I made the latter choice. Discovered our sweet old dog (breed: rescue jack terrier/poodle combo) had cut his paws on some brambles in the bushes at the rear corner of our yard where he has lately been spending time entertaining the workers building a deck on the house behind us with his chorus of barks.
did you know that little plops of blood on a pale gray rug are very hard to get out?
So you make the obvious decision and gently clean the dog’s paws, but choose to leave the blood stains intact, because they will make a perfect backdrop to that portion of the Haggadah we read at Passover where re-tell the story of the Ten Plagues.
(SEE: the ten plagues inflicted upon ancient Egypt when the Pharoah refused to let the enslaved Israelites go free. The first plague had Aaron, the brother of Moses, touch the river Nile with his staff, turning the waters to blood.)
Back to my story…
The dog’s tail now wagging, I leave the house to head downtown, thinking how lucky I am that he only brought in blood stain. How much more unsightly it would have been if he had come in from the back yard followed by a trail of frogs -> frogs are plague #2 according to the Passover story
Perhaps 10 years ago I would have never made it to the lunch downtown.
I would have been on my knees for hours scrubbing away at those pesky blood spots, worrying that I would hate to have my guests at the Passover Seder think me a poor housekeeper to have such an unclean rug.
But now I’ve learned to take a more creative approach to life.
Can’t get rid of blood stains? Make them a feature in your Passover story.
I’ve already purchased 10 finger puppets for our oldest grandson – each puppet resembling a plague (use your imagination here) – the tradition is that when it comes to the part in the Haggadah to speak of the 10 plagues, each is announced and everyone around the table dips his or her finger into their glass of red wine or grape juice (age depending) and puts the splotch of red wine or juice onto the edge of their plate to signify a plague, 10 in all.
We will expand upon that tradition this year. When we get to the first plague – blood – I plan to raise my right hand (like Aaron did with his staff) and point to the rug on the floor to show that if you get plagues in your house, you can learn to live with them.
Here my story and the ancient one part ways.
Unlike the ancient Israelites, we are now live in freedom. Though many people around the world are indeed enslaved or live in fear of persecution and we will talk of them during our Seder service and express our hope that someday they too will be free.
We are lucky to be sharing our Passover holiday this year with our son, daughter, son-in-law, two grandsons, a niece and her fiancée and two close friends.
Like our rug, the Passover meal will not be perfect. Already I know that the peeling method I employ for the hard-boiled eggs will not meet my chef son’s exacting standards, that our wrinkled cloth napkins do not match and our old silver is tarnished.
The red stains on the rug will be a reminder that perfection is highly over-rated. It is liberating (no pun intended, truly) to seek contentment instead.
**Wishing you a happy and healthy Passover or Easter or whatever you celebrate this spring.