I was talking with a friend today, and he celebrates Yom Kippur. I have friends who are Jewish, but I haven’t asked enough about the holidays and traditions that are part of their faith. With the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently, I have been thinking a lot about how she expressed her faith through a dedication to justice – to be sure voices were protected by laws. Jewish faith has been more present in my mind this week that my otherwise ignorant ass will admit.
The month before Yom Kippur is the month of forgiveness. Fuck. I am late to that party. Yom Kippur is on us. Here we go…because I can absolutely get on board with the annual (if not more often or constant) evaluation of wrongs to be righted.
- For my love, I am sorry for hurting you. I am sorry for my lack of forethought and consideration for your beautiful heart and the soul that you entrusted to my care. I am working to be the best version of myself I can be for you and for us. I am sorry that my communication needs feel like oppression for you sometimes. I am sorry for anything I have ever done or said that made you even barely question my love for you. Please, hear my apologies, and don’t shush them away with discomfort. I mean them, and you need to hear them in order to forgive me properly.
- For my local, I am sorry I couldn’t offer you all of me. I should have seen in advance what power dynamics and that responsibility would feel like for me, and I am so sorry for the pain that was caused when we had to let go. I am so grateful for what we have and who we are, and for the understanding that has come from that hurt, but fuck. I am sorry for the hurt too.
- For my former lovers – the lawyer and the musician… my intensity caused you both pain. I didn’t tell you that you were hurting me when you were, and I let you hurt me and make distance. You didn’t see it, and I didn’t tell you. I am sorry for keeping that secret.
- For my husband, I am sorry for doing emotional work for you for two decades and then stopping without warning. That pivot was hard on you. I am sorry for the pain I am dragging you through now, and the pain that is still to come. My abilities are very compromised, and our process will be difficult. I cheated on you…many many times. I am sorry for that pain whether you know about it or not, though I am not sorry for the affairs that were essential to my process. I am sorry I wasn’t strong enough to both care for my own needs and yours.
- For my children, I am sorry for the impact my current crisis has on each of you. I am not present for dinners and processing and life in the way I would choose if I could. I love you both and I want you to learn the strength I lack.
- For my friends, I am sorry for the emotional drain that I am on each of you lately. You worry about me, and there isn’t anything you can do to help. I have caused you pain by shutting you out, but I have learning that has stretched me beyond being able to handle your well-meaning concern.
- For Mom and Grandma, I am sorry my life makes you embarrassed. I am sorry you worry about me and that causes intense stress. I am sorry I am not able to offer you comfort.
Here is the rub in all of this…I look back at lists of atonement for things…and I am apologizing for taking up space. There must be a handbook for healthy atonement practice. And how do I forgive myself for the pain I have brought into my own life? How do I ask for and offer grace when the hurt is ongoing?
Oh, my heart, how do I atone for the cuts I inflict?
What ointment will heal, treatment’s positive outcome predict
My heart, I did this to you knowing the pain
I, self, me…my own apology’s fruitless refrain
Let me use my own fingers to paste firm my own heart
Let me use my own lens to see gritty debris picked apart
Please let the sea salty, winds wailing, and moans nauseated abate
Let self love and forgiveness in through the rusted locked gate
I am sorry, my self, for the wrongs and fright
Please forgive, my self, and atone to make right.