rosh hashonah

The Road Between

There is so much that I want from life.

Recently though, I’ve boiled down my prayers to be pretty specific:

If there is one thing I do right in this lifetime, may it be my family.

My prayers don’t end there, certainly not – but each time I turn to G-d I let Him know that that is the key aspect of my prayers. That if He’s unable to grant me anything else I ask for, He still gift me with that.

If nothing else pans out, allow me to still be capable of a loving marriage and raising my children the way I hope.

. . .

I am a spiritual person.

Rosh Hashonah is a very spiritual holiday. Even as a kid, I would look forward to the familiar tunes and prayers said only on Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur. That excitement has not faded and has only strengthened through a deeper understanding of what the holidays represent.

Over this Rosh Hashonah, I was deeply connected and focused.

I was rudely awakened yesterday as assignment due dates and to do lists came back into focus, and I was reminded that I am not a spiritual being, I am actually so very human.

Our days are made up of so much, our world is made up of even more, and there is no end to the opportunities and challenges that arise each day.

In the end, our joys and our pains are oh so physical, not so much spiritual.

Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur are nice – and more than that, they are truly truly important.

But they are the spiritual half of our journey, and in a way, the much easier part.

I didn’t forget I was human on Rosh Hashonah – I prayed for all the parts that are human in me. But somehow, on Rosh Hashonah, being human was easier.

And yesterday, as I emerged from the cocoon of prayer and spirituality, it was a startling wake-up call to what being human really is about.

Because our life is not made up of enormous life-changing events, like the ones we pray for.

Our life is not made up of graduating college, getting the dream job, getting married, or having children.

It’s made up of all the tiny things in between, the tiny things that are easy to forget about when you’ve got your eyes on the big picture.

But when you face life, those tiny things are exactly what it is.
I prayed for the big things, because they are easier to pinpoint.

Today, I pray for the small things.

As I transition back into my world, suited up with spirituality, I pray that the small things go right. That our lives are filled with the small things that count.
I pray that the big things are so great that I get to appreciate and notice the tiny things.

. . .

At the end of the day, my prayer still stands – if I do anything right in this lifetime, may it be my family.

Yet I mean that in a thousand ways, as it filters down to real life.

All the roads that lead towards it – may they be brightly lit. May all the roads we take in life be brightly lit and filled with joy.

Because it is the road we’re on that that counts. The destinations are important, but it’s the rest stops that make it better. The music we choose, the snacks we eat, the people we put in our passenger seats.

It’s those tiny things that make up life that make life worth living.

And I look forward to G-d granting me these prayers. That ahead of me, I have a life filled with sticky fingers, dirty kitchens, late night deadlines, busy work days, hugs and kisses, aching laughter, days in swimming pools, and a heart filled to capacity.

On Rosh Hashonah, we pray.

And on Yom Kippur, may it be sealed.
break

Blog Post 51/52.

Featured Photo by rawpixel  via Unsplash

What is Focus?

I wasn’t sure what to write about this week.

I know, three weeks into my great big plan, and I’m already out of inspiration.

The problem is, all my half-written blog posts that are on my phone don’t seem to be ready to be finished yet. They’re missing paragraphs, conclusions, lacking knowledge that I haven’t yet come to. They’re only halfway there.

It’s a big week for inspiration. The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are days that everyone is looking for a little something to push them in the right direction.

I’m afraid I don’t have it.

Wondering what I was going to write about, I scrolled through my WordPress feed. There, I discovered a prompt word via Daily Prompt: Focused.

Focus. The ever elusive trait. It takes guts to focus. It takes patience and energy and sheer bravery.

It takes knowing that what you are focusing on is more important than every distraction out there. It’s hard.

These days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur require focus. Specifically, this year, as it is a long week between them, time enough to lose track, enough of a resumption to life to lose focus.

I’m a human. When I’m in pain, I’m in pain. I tried getting work done today while in pain, and I struggled to even create words in my head. I’m a writer, I was supposed to be pulling words together to create a meaningful message, for pay this time, and I couldn’t do it.

All I could focus on was my pain.

It overtook me, it pushed everything else out of my head. I tried to distract myself while waiting for the meds to kick in, with stupid youtube videos, an instagram feed, plans for dinner.

I couldn’t do it.

Until my pain was gone, there was nothing else I could think about.

Imagine if I allowed my soul to be as powerful as my body. If it could have that much control over my focus.

Imagine if, for the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, nothing else held any meaning. Nothing could possibly pull me away from my focus on G-d. Nothing could stop me from becoming a better person.

Imagine if my temptations fell away, and I didn’t have to fight to be the person I want to be.

It all must remain in our imagination, I’m afraid.

Because this is one fight that will never end, the fight for focus. The fight to remember how important these days are. The fight to not make the same mistakes over and over and over again.

 

But this week isn’t meant to be easy. Even more so when I don’t feel inspired, don’t feel ready, don’t feel focused.

Perhaps that can be my goal this week – to win just a few battles. To try to fight for focus, to try to allow my soul to speak a little louder. To let it choose at least once a day.

What are you doing to make this week a little more special, a little more focused?

Blog Post: 3/52


Photo by ANDRIK ↟ LANGFIELD ↟ PETRIDES on Unsplash

This year, I pray for G-d.

Dear G-d,

5,778 years ago You gently handcrafted each being, each blade of grass, each solitary piece of sand.
I know time means nothing for You. For You, space is as wide as it is small. I know that You have The Master Plan. But surely, even You could not have foreseen it getting…this bad.
Everywhere I look, there is destruction – if not of physical buildings than of people, families, values.
Those who are desperately desiring peace cannot get through to the protesters, the protesters cannot understand why there are people who seem to be passively allowing the world to crumble around them.
There is so much pain, so much hatred, so much of the ability for us to forgive has been lost.
Costs of basic necessities have skyrocketed, religions are mocked and looked down upon. The rushing oceans are thick with pieces of our lives we forget to be grateful for, beautiful animals are becoming extinct. The world quakes in fear of the next disaster, the next time mankind will strike out against their own.
Hurricanes ravage small islands, earthquakes split the very land we walk on.
It’s as if even the depths of the earth are crying out “enough! Enough!”
Our nation seems to be in shreds, never before so divided, never before so wary of each other.
It is a terrifying world to grow up in.
Yet when I shared this sentiment with a friend, who can always be relied on to see the glass half full, she shook her head.
She disagreed.
She said, “Look how far we’ve come!”
She said, “We have been dealt many unfair cards, yet we persevere as a people.”
G-d, this Rosh Hashonah, greeting You in synagogue will be an exhausted people. Your children are broken. Many have lost loved ones. Many have lost homes. Many are battling wars in their bodies and in their minds.
All are searching. All are searching for You.
You, G-d, who 5,778 years ago, handcrafted each one of us.
You, G-d, who lovingly wrote each word of The Master Plan.
Look upon us G-d, and see Your people. See how we still stand before you. See how we have not let the ravaging waters steal our faith, even when there was every reason to let go.
G-d, You came to us, You were in the fields. Have you not wept each day? Have You not tenderly looked at us, moved by our convictions, touched by our dedication?
As You leave the field, pockets filled with tear-stained prayers, as You climb upon your throne again, allow Yourself to be rid of whatever is holding You back.
Look down upon the earth You promised to never destroy, and stay true to that promise.
We are the people who You so desired.
We have given our all, we have scratched the bottom of the barrel.
We are here, G-d.
And doesn’t that just say enough?
With deep prayers for a better tomorrow,
Sincerely,
Yours.
Blog Post: 2/52

Featured Image: Photo by Jack Hamilton on Unsplash

Dear Me: I’m Sorry

Dear Me,

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.

Love,

You.