The following are the reflections that I shared on the morning of Erev Yom Kippur and the day after Yom Kippur on my Facebook page… On fractured faith & forgiveness….
10/11/16 (The morning of Erev Yom Kippur)
Admittedly I find Yom Kippur difficult. The liturgy of these holy days feels almost unbearable to me and leaves me feeling vulnerable and deeply emotional. I have forgiven my father for the way that he left us and I’ve forgiven God for the violent and heartbreaking final words in my father’s Book of Life. But the language of prayer, how to talk to God, remains a major stumbling block. It’s as if there is a deep chasm that stands between Me, God and Faith, and I am still searching for the words that will build a bridge that connects us once more.
But I understand the deep power of forgiveness. And I understand too the importance of believing as well that my father has forgiven me for not fully recognizing the depths of his pain, hard as I tried. And how I must forgive myself for the same.
I also know that I got 3 1/2 more years with my father, because our family did not allow our estrangement to be the final footnote in our story. Six years were lost, but we did not dwell there forever. We journeyed forward into something deeper, stronger, more accepting and loving than before.
And while I struggle with regret that I could not save my father, I never have to wonder if he knew that I loved him. And I know he loved me. We said it, we lived it, we held that love tightly.
Forgiveness is a gift.
I have lived it. And for that I am surely grateful. I am a deeply flawed person. So was my father. So are we all. It is what makes us human. And I’d give anything to have that imperfect man back in my life.
May we all seek and find forgiveness in this New Year. May we be accepting of one another’s flaws & take ownership of our wrongdoings. May we choose forgiveness over punishment, anger and resentment. May we remember that our time on this earth is short, and not miss the opportunities to share our love, compassion and kindness. May we forgive ourselves for those places in which we feel so very broken. Because those are the places that allow the light in.
May your fast be meaningful. I cannot believe it is God who inscribes us in the Book of Life, so instead I say, may we choose to fill the blank pages of tomorrow with humanity, hope, peace, love and forgiveness. Let our stories be full of meaning, mitzvot and mercy.
And may God accompany us through every chapter and verse, an enduring source of comfort, love and strength.
10/13/16 (The day after Yom Kippur)
I couldn’t pull myself together for Kol Nidre. I came to services on Yom Kippur morning. I cried throughout, I left the sanctuary often and I couldn’t utter a word of the liturgy. But I showed up. It would’ve been easier and kinder to myself to stay home. My journey to heal my sense of faith stumbled many steps back. The liturgy pierced my soul with a tirade of triggers. And my knees barely held me upright. But this trauma survivor showed up and stood in your presence. I wanted to show you that I’m still in this fractured and fragile relationship with you God. So I showed up and offered silent prayers of the heart, and tears that held all of the words I couldn’t utter. And that is all I could do God. This Yom Kippur no easier than the last, no less painful, leaving me feeling no less vulnerable, is done. And I’m grateful to simply have gotten through it God. I showed up, in sacred space on the holiest of days to say simply, “Hineni” here I am, here I stand. I’m still in this with you God. Whatever “this” is… I’m not giving up.