It’s Elul, the Hebrew month before Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, and I’m reflecting on my year, the things I did well, those not so well. There are deeds I’m proud of, some I’m ashamed of, and I’m hoping that the good will outweigh the bad. I pray that the God of mercy writes me, seals me, grants me another year in the Book of Life, and that my fate is not sealed by my past.
If I am solely judged by the God of justice, I don’t think I would be given another year. I need mercy. And I need to show mercy to others and to myself. I beseech the God of justice to let mercy prevail, to give me another year where I can get more right than wrong. I don’t want to live in a world of strict justice; I want to live in a world filled with justice, mercy, and forgiveness. I’m human – I will mess it up. A lot. God gives us these holy days, the chance to reflect and ask for forgiveness, to repent, to work to make ourselves better, to return; it’s what God wants us to do. Return to who we need to be, the person we have the capacity to be. To return home.
I need mercy to get back home, to get back to who and where I am supposed to be. I spent this last year going down roads this way and that and shooting arrows that missed the mark. With the New Year I want to be forgiven, to wake up, and start anew.
I ask God to forgive me, I ask those I’ve hurt to forgive me. And I want to forgive myself. Also, I need to forgive those who have hurt me; I don’t want to hold onto anger.
I write my way home. It’s how I figure out the world and my place in it. I ask God for another year of writing, another year to try to figure out my life. I believe that I’m always in progress. I never finish everything that I want to, I don’t get to start everything I want to, but I’m always on my way somewhere, not knowing where I will end up, but I’m always on the way, seeking, and learning. There is always something to write about, something new to discover.
I wish you a Shanah Tobah, a good year, and Shanim Rabbot, many good years, filled with much joy, health, learning, and writing. The days between Rosh HaShanah and Kippur are called the Days of Awe – days of more introspection. May we be filled with awe in our lives, for those we love, for what we can accomplish, and for the world. May we keep returning home.
With much gratitude to Ishay Ribo and The Solomon Brothers for their song: My Way Back Home which inspired this blog.