The High Holidays are coming. That means Yom Kippur. Introspection. The time to atone and ask forgiveness. The time to start fresh, cleansed of old vows, resolving to “do better”. I love Yom Kippur. I do believe in its power to clear my slate, as it were. But. Have you ever noticed there is ALWAYS a “but”? There are certain “wrong” behaviors of mine that I know, no matter WHAT I try to resolve, I know that I will fail at improving them. I can’t improve my behavior until I resolve my inner attitude.
There are 2 people out there with whom I have major grievances. One of them both wrongs me and is wronged by me. And if I am honest, probably she is more wronged by me than I by her. Because *I* recognize my erroneous behavior while she is oblivious. I’m not being unkind. It’s simply the truth. And raging against who and what a person IS is a foolish course of action for anyone else. Only WE can change who and what we are. Until she thinks that she needs change, it’s up to me to accept who she is. I know who and what she is. I love her anyway. I don’t like her very much. That’s my problem. I should let my love rule me and not my dislike. I try. But I fail. Repeatedly. I can give you lots of reasons why, but mostly it’s because I’ve not resolved my inner anger and so I fail. I’ll recite the litany and the prayers and the resolutions, but even as I do I am already despairing and failing. I do wonder if that invalidates everything. I suspect that what it really means is that I’m human and I’m still evolving.
The other person? I should not even go here, I’m sure. First, I’d be willing to bet he doesn’t know that I think he wronged me. Second, in the big picture, this person is really not someone who matters (should matter) in my life. Isn’t it curious how emotions have absolutely no consideration for reality? P!nk has a song out now, Try, with the phrase “Why do we fall in love so easy, Even when it’s not right”. Substitute any emotion for “love”. Sometimes it takes a long time for our logic to …. control? balance? right-size? our emotions. When this person hurt me, wronged me (and yes, I believe it was more than hurt, it was wrong), I was so damaged that I was ashamed. Now THAT is just foolish. *grin* And wrong. It took me several hours, but once I was able to “admit” to someone else what happened, the healing began. Aren’t humans curious? This really leads to a different post I want to write. One about how voicing anger, expressing our feelings, is NOT always healthy. But certainly burying them deep inside ourselves doesn’t work all that well either.
So. It’s been awhile, but it’s still in this year cycle. I still hurt. In Judaism you are supposed to go to anyone you’ve wronged and ask for their forgiveness. They can refuse to forgive you. You are required to go to them 3 times. Sincerely. With TRUE contrition. MEAN IT. Ask forgiveness for any wrong you have done them. They can refuse you twice. But after the 3rd time, assuming your atonement is sincere, well, my understanding is that the ‘sin’ is on the person refusing to forgive.
I believe truly that I was wronged. I believe that the person who wronged me has no idea the depth of my feeling. I suspect that if he knew, he’d apologize and ask forgiveness. I even think he’d mean it. And I believe that he’d wrong me again in some similar fashion. The hardest thing that I will do this Yom Kippur is to forgive someone who has not asked forgiveness. I will forgive him for being who he is. I will forgive him for hurting me so deeply when it was within his power to heal, not hurt. More importantly, I will work on forgiving myself and clearing my slate. I will try yet again to accept people for who and what they are. That includes myself. I will accept that my emotions run deep. I will accept that I often want what is unreasonable, and that I often want people to be something that they are not.
Wikipedia says that “Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offence, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.” Ahuva, it’s time to forgive. And if you can’t listen to Yoda, then listen to P!nk. Try, try, try.