Average Jane



As Close to Us as Breathing

It’s been a really long time since I’ve written here, so this entry may seem a bit rambly. My dear friend Jessica is in Israel right now becoming the best Rabbi ever. She writes rambly blogs sometimes and they are the best, so at her urging I’ll do the same.

The last day of my job was Erev Rosh Hashana. This was certainly a befitting coincidence. Fortuitous, really. A new year. A new start. A new me? It was a relatively amicable parting. I worked with some truly amazing women. I will miss them. Everything in my life has the propensity to teach me something. This particular job taught me what I didn’t want to do with my life, and I find that just as valuable as a job that taught me what I did want to do with my life. I suppose my only concern is that along the way I lost who I am. I got soft. People seem to like the new soft me a lot better. The soft, skinny, not as sarcastic Lisa. I guess in my heart I’ll always be the fat, funny girl. The “other” girl. Anyway, that was last year. This is this year and I am dedicated to being much more true to myself this year. Just let me know if the new old me sucks.

Today is Yom Kippur, my favorite holiday of the year. This is when God inscribes you in the Book of Life. It’s the day you learn your fate… Rather, it’s the day that you EARN your fate. Yom Kippur is about repentance and atonement. It’s about humbling yourself to your flaws, admitting you are not perfect and that you’ve committed sins knowingly, or unknowingly.

The rules are pretty specific: Fast for a full day. Apologize to God for the sins you have committed against God. Apologize to the people in your life for the sins you have committed against them. Not only confess your sins, but confess the sins people in your community have committed. Say it aloud. Make the words real. Purge them from you heart by speaking them with your lips. Finally, after all the repenting and atoning, forgive those people who have transgressed against you.

After all that, I guess you wouldn’t understand why it’s my favorite holiday unless you experience it first hand. Try it. Look in the mirror. Admit to yourself that you aren’t perfect. You lie. You cheat. You speak evil of people you love. You make promises you have no intention of keeping. You treat people you love in a hateful way. You don’t thank the people you love for all they do for you. Then start going down the list apologizing. It is such a powerful and humbling experience. It’s as vulnerable as you can be. Some of my most valuable relationships have been healed on Yom Kippur.

Most of my friends don’t believe in God. Most don’t believe in religion. Most think my affiliation with Judaism is pretty useless. I sit and I take it. I listen to your opinions and I understand where you come from. But even if you’re not religious, particularly if you’re not Jewish, take today to look at your life. Do you like what you see? Is there someone you have been meaning to apologize to, but you can’t think of an ice breaker? Try this: “My friend Lisa posted something in her blog. Something about a holiday. Anyway, I just wanted to say, ‘I’m sorry.’” Go on, try it.

You don’t even need to know me that well to know that I have had a pretty rough year, surmounted only with the help of those closest to me. People that I don’t think I could ever thank enough. I wonder sometimes how I came to know so many wonderful people. I guess I should just be grateful they are there. And I am.

This entry isn’t nearly as eloquent as I had hoped it would be. I guess the gist of it all is, it’s a new year for me. I’ve said it before: Life is a verb. I am doing life, and I fully intend on being a better me, a better friend, a better girlfriend, a better daughter, a better employee, a better sister, a better human being.

I love you all.

Shana Tova.

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Comments

  1. * Anonymous says:

    This new year will be better than the next. No doubt.

    You’ve come so far!

    You surprise and inspire me on a daily basis and make me want to be a better Jew.

    -M.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 10 months ago


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