So this is the new year…
It always came as a surprise: An IM or email from the Cultural Contributor in the Fall marking the start of a new year. Our friendship, rocky but undeniable, ebbed and flowed throughout the year, but each Rosh Hashana I got a reminder that we are bigger than ourselves. She would be the bigger person and send me a note. Remind me that we are more than friends — we are family. And, as hard as it is for two stubborn 20-somethings to admit it… sometimes we are wrong. Sometimes we do things to hurt each other. Sometimes we mean to and sometimes we don’t. But the fact of the matter is, no one is too big to say, “I’m sorry.” So when I got those IMs, when I heard from her out of the blue, I listened. I accepted her apologies. And I apologized. More than that, I meant it.
When it comes to the New Year, I guess I follow a few simple rules*:
1) Reflect on the year.
2) Think about all the shit you fucked up.
3) Fix it.
That’s a, um, loose interpretation. Unfortunately, the rules don’t stop there.
3a) Fix it by apologizing to God.
3b) Fix it by apologizing to the person you hurt.
3c) Fix it by promising not to do it again.
Did you see 3b? It can slip right on by you if you’re not paying attention. The thing is, if you apologize just to God, just when you’re hungry in synagogue and have some time to think, it’s not enough. I know it’s not enough. I’ve been there.
The power of “I’m sorry” is undeniable. To say it is to release control and be humble. To accept an apology – there is no better feeling in the world. Forgiveness is a feeling that cannot be described.
Our New Year comes in the fall, just as the leaves abandon their branches and the trees are left bare… like new. And that is what the New Year is for me. A chance to start over again anew. A chance to be a little better and a little stronger. But I have to start bare. I have to start humbled. I have to start knowing that I’ve apologized and forgiven and at least made a plan to do better in the coming year.
It has been a few years since the Cultural Contributor and I have had to exercise our New Year “do over” option. I don’t know if she knows this, but each New Year instead of asking for forgiveness, I thank God that we’re friends. Family. That we made it through another year together.
Despite some bumps in the road, it’s been a good year. I have a lot to be thankful for. But I have, of course, faltered. I promise that I will do better. Even if you’re not Jewish… I dare you: I know there’s someone out there that you’ve been meaning to call. Someone who has asked for your apology but you’ve been hesitant to accept it. Do it anonymously on here if you want to — at least that’s a start. But do it.