The Jewish new year is about to be upon us, and it is in this time each year that it’s important to do some reflection. It’s time to open the books, and check up on our actions this past year. Who have we hurt? Who have we cheated? Who have we wronged?
I’ve been doing that sort of reflecting a lot this past month, and I’ve come up with one final person I must apologize to.
You. Me. Well, us.
Who have I hurt more than myself?
Who have I blind-sided and betrayed repeatedly?
Who have I stolen the most time from?
Who have I stolen the most sleep from?
I broke your trust, I didn’t follow through with your big plans, I treated you completely wrong.
I stood you in front of a mirror and ripped you apart. I made you wipe tears quickly so nobody would know that you were falling apart on the inside. I tore at your confidence when you were finally knocking in that last nail.
How can I walk into synagogue next week, pretending as if I have prepared satisfactorily for this holiday? How can I act as if I have apologized to all those who deserved apologies, and forgiven all those who have asked (and all those who haven’t)?
How can I do myself that one extra disservice?
The truth is, I’d give you up before giving up anyone else in my entire family. I’d rather watch you go through pain than watch someone else go through it. So yes, maybe I don’t love you more than anyone else. Maybe I don’t love you enough, or maybe I love you just enough, but no matter. I owe an apology, and an apology you will get.
How can I apologize with words though? What I stole from you is far greater than an apology can wish to accomplish.
Do you remember those nights that you could have been well-rested, if I had just allowed you to sleep? Just turned off the phone, put down the book, slowed down my thoughts.
You would have consumed so many less cups of coffee, you would have the ability to bite back cutting words, you would have so many less people to apologize to, if only you had been rested.
So, I am sorry.
Do you remember all those meals that I convinced you would be okay to eat?
We both regretted them every time. I know what we need to be healthy, yet I betrayed that and continuously fed you nutrition-less meals to satisfy you in the moment. I also beat you up for way too long about those meals.
So, I am sorry.
Do you remember all those ideas? The ideas that I convinced you would result in you making a fool out of yourself? All those stories I held you back from saying, for fear that those listening would lose interest? All those times I did not allow you to stand up for yourself, because staying low and out of the way has always worked for me?
All those outfits I refused to let you leave the house wearing, all those times I forced you to listen to other people’s opinions and let them dictate how you conducted your personal affairs.
I carefully placed your confidence in the hands of others, and failed to mention how fragile it was. I forgot to replace it with a new confidence and put it in your arms, for you to take care of. I forgot to tell you that you are a capable, strong woman of various skills and talents. I forgot to tell you that you can do it. That making a fool out of yourself isn’t the end of the world, it’s only the beginning of the next great idea.
I failed you. I continuously destroyed your enthusiasm for good. I drew you to the evil in the world, and made you lose hope in a better tomorrow. I made you second guess Every. Single. Thing. I allowed you to believe that others were happier because they were prettier, more successful, more sure.
So. I am sorry.
I know I am asking a lot. I beg you though, to find it in our heart to forgive me. To give me a second chance. This time, I will make the same mistakes. But perhaps, they will be fewer and farther between. Perhaps we can work together a little better this time. Allow me to lift you up, strengthen you, help you achieve your dreams.
It’s said that if you beg someone for forgiveness three times, genuinely and full of good intention, and they still can’t find it in their heart to forgive, G-d forgives you.
I am sorry.
I am sorry.
I am sorry.