There is a tradition in Spain of family teams building towers with their members, called “castles”, and the youngest climb to the very top. Families are different – and the same – all around the world, and I loved this tradition of building a tower with the family members themselves. In Islamic Art and Spirituality, Dr. Nasr says something echoed in every religious tradition around the planet – the sacred sites of mosque, temple, synagogue, chapel, and cathedral truly are holy, but the most sacred site for every family is the home.
As we enter Passover, I was thinking about this. To sacrifice means to make sacred, and the homes saved during the final plague in Egypt were those marked by the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb. Families were saved because the Destroyer saw their sacrifice and passed them by.
Now, I am not so naive to believe that terrible things never happen to good people; humans can be astonishingly nasty to each other. However, numerous studies show an odd truth: as Dr. Bernie Siegel said, “The optimist will live longer with a better life than the pessimist in any given situation, even if the pessimist’s view of the world is more accurate.” As the family keeps their identity as a loving unit, they whether events that seem impossible for other social units to survive. Good and bad things happen everywhere and to everyone, just like the rain, but the loving family – wherever and whatever that is – is stronger and better equipped to weather any storm.
The sacrifice to mark our homes is the daily act of making sacred those things which strengthen our family ties – playing with our children, helping with homework, listening to a loved one, lending a shoulder to another – these acts of simple humanity, when done in a field of caring and love, become sacred things.
And a home – made of grass, brick, under a bridge, or in a shelter – marked with these acts of love is protected with all that truly matters.