We’re getting ready to sit out in our sukkah. Another Yom Kippur is over. Our bodies have already forgotten that we deprived them of food and water for 25 hours and are back into routine. And again my Yom Kippur prayer wasn’t answered.
Every year for the past seven years I pray the same thing. I ask for the strength to forgive someone, and every year my anger and pain don’t allow me to do it.
I’ve always appreciated the holiday of Yom Kippur. A day of putting everything else aside, a day of reflection, of self-evaluation, of resolution. Recognizing that I’ve hurt others, intentionally or not. Asking people for forgiveness, for the chance to start over. (Because tradition says G-d can’t forgive you for sins against others if the other people don’t first…) A day of putting things into perspective.
Of course, that’s only good if you learn the lessons from it and move on from there. I have no use for those who screw over everyone else all during the year and then pray at Yom Kippur, believe they’ve wiped the slate clean, and the next day go back to screwing everyone again. A most blatant form of hypocrisy. (lol….and here I go already judging others…..whoops) But I do try to forgive those who ask my forgiveness. Not necessarily forget, I’m not that naïve, but at least forgive. Holding a grudge damages my own energy, and can hold me back.
Which brings me to one person in particular, the one I keep trying to forgive and can’t. Worst case scenario – she caused my mother’s death. Best case scenario – she caused my mother unbearable suffering, which is unbearable to me. Not intentionally, not at all, she truly loved my mother. Through sheer stupidity. (And that isn’t her fault.) And in her foolishness she saw herself a hero in the story, and told it again and again to anyone who would listen, while everyone who knew my mother stared at her appalled. I think maybe, deep down, she realised she hadn’t been such a hero, and for a while kept seeking me out … perhaps to talk about it. I fled, wouldn’t or couldn’t listen. I was afraid that what I was holding inside might come bursting out. Because she has no idea how I feel, and it wouldn’t help anyone for me to tell her how angry I am, or to point out to her what her actions caused. It wouldn’t bring my mother back, it would hurt a foolish old woman who is too thick-headed to understand, and that would only make me feel awful. For what?
A friend told me this year that I was torturing myself for no reason, the woman was just stupid, she didn’t mean to hurt anyone, she wasn’t trying to be cruel, she made a stupid choice and thought it was OK. She had no way of knowing the consequences. I do agree with that. But this friend never had the honour of knowing my mother.
So every Yom Kippur I sit and pray for the strength to forgive, to finally let it go. I couldn’t do it this year. Again. Maybe next year I’ll find that strength.