forgiveness

Our Story

“This is a story that I’ve never told, I got to get this off my chest and let it go. I need to take back the light inside you stole” – Demi Lovato, Warrior

I remember feeling angry about lots of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I screamed about what I thought was unfair? You probably thought I was just this annoying kid who was naive, childish, stubborn and maybe even petulant and disrespectful.

My opinion mattered. You should have been listening to what I was saying.    

I remember feeling sad about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I cried and cried about something you couldn’t wrap your head around? You probably were irritated by the whimpering juvenile who you thought maybe just wanted attention, was too needy and maybe even aggravating.

My feelings mattered. You should have been more sensitive to why I was sobbing.

I remember feeling confused about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember that time I asked about something you didn’t want to talk about? You probably were upset by the embarrassing topic wanting nothing more than for me to stop asking, not-so-silently begging me to just ask anyone else or better yet no one at all, to figure out these things by myself.

My questions mattered. You should have been more sympathetic and understanding.

I remember feeling vulnerable about a lot of things when I was younger, like, remember the time I was too quiet and kept to myself listening to slow songs on repeat? You probably were relieved to have a break from me and thought I was just being a moody adolescent you were finally not being nagged by.

My emotions mattered. You should have been more sensitive and affected by my reclusiveness.

Today I am older and wiser. I now know as an adult that you probably didn’t have the answers and that my many states of being were just as difficult for you to see and hear as it was for me to feel. However, you could have been better, more supportive and caring, more attentive, stronger and more determined to clarify or bring joy and less pain into my life. You could have, but you acted selfishly and not the way a person in the position to protect, or love tenderly should. You took our relationship for granted. You understood only what you wanted at that time and I am strong enough, I am certain enough today of who I am to say, I am better than you. I listen beyond words so that I can truly hear what others are saying, even if its shouted on the top of their lungs. I am better than you. I am sympathetic to the tears of others understanding that their emotions are justified. I am better than you. I am composed when others are troubled and have questions about uncomfortable situations because I know they need someone to make sense of things that often get muddled. I am better than you. I am loving and considerate and reliable, I am kind to those who are heartbroken, or feeling distressed because their worries may be paralyzing and their anguish is sometimes palpable. I am better than you.

As we get older, you and I, I see you for who you really were. It’s okay to not have answers. It’s just not okay to be quiet when someone needs to hear your words of comfort.  I understand it is difficult to help someone when you yourself may not be completely whole. It’s just not okay to let a person suffer if you know they need something, anything, you could have found to offer. A touch, a hug, a smile, the number of someone else that person could turn to. When you offer nothing but your silence or worse your biting tongue or accusations, you lose. You lose the opportunity to make things right. You lose the respect you thought you deserved, simply because you were older than me.

“There’s a part of me I can’t get back, a little who girl grew up too fast, all it took was once, I’ll never be the same…
Nothing left that you can say, cause you were never gonna take the blame anyway”. – Demi Lovato, Warrior

When the world needs better people, I look to the heavens and beg G-d not to take the good ones too soon. Forgiveness usually comes easy for me but not this time and I feel mostly sad for you, because even though our paths mostly don’t cross, when they do, I see that you’re damaged. You’ve done no wrong in your mind. You take no blame for anything. You and I? We are not the same, because I am better than you.

The Countdown to Meltdown

What a rough morning. No one wants to see their child lose it. Especially from too far away to step in and diffuse the problem. 

Mommies always want to make things better, but this morning there was no way for me to reach my child on time and the fact that I could hear him screaming, “NOooo” as my daughter and others encouraged him to get on the bus, he was not budging, and I was left watching from my window across the street in my pajamas crying for what I was witnessing. Well it was between that, and this. 

OH-NO-YOU-DITTENT

He needed a tissue. A simple fact. He felt something icky and needed a tissue, which my daughter didn’t have on her. When he refused to get on the bus, even though they were holding it for him, and there was only one seat left, he wouldn’t go. My daughter was embarrassed by his behavior and then hers, for publicly admonishing him, for trying to push him too hard to do something he didn’t want to, for feeling like a failure in our eyes if he didn’t make it on time. I could see other kid’s fathers on the ground trying to encourage him to get on the bus, friends of ours who I am so thankful to for even trying. I even sent another daughter running to the rescue but she too failed and when they returned home, there was a heaviness. I was so sad. I was pretty angry. I was in a quandary…what to do, how to handle this delicate situation.

Little brother sat on the naughty step for creating a scene and missing the bus, but there will be a discussion and probably therapy about learning how to deal with difficult situations when feeling pressure. One daughter returned pretty disappointed that little brother used her sweatshirt as his tissue and had to change. The other daughter came home in utter tears and was an absolute emotional wreck. She was mortified but worse than that was suffering a shoe crisis. 

So one would think that little brother is the reason for this title, however he was just the beginning my personal mental meltdown, or so I thought. After trying to calm my daughter down, we managed to find suitable shoes for her outfit regardless of the fact that a friend made her feel bad about them the day before. She was self-conscious, I knew that, I understood that, but the fact was, the bus was coming and she still had no prepared food for lunch. The morning was so hectic there was little-to-no-time left to prepare a ‘normal’ lunch. So when I grabbed last night’s leftovers (which btw – were AWESOME) and threw something together she left with a hug only to walk back in 10 minutes later shoulders hunched and shaking, face sodden with tears. The energy it takes to calm down a hysterical teenager over wardrobe issues and a missed bus is like trying to grab the egg before it hits the ground – missing it, and then trying to scoop the goo off the tiles with a tissue. It’s almost impossible in one go. There was back rubbing, and tear wiping, hugging, deep breathing, and then finally there was a final sigh.  

I was like a ticking time bomb – waiting for the next thing to happen – not necessarily a BAD thing, just another ‘fire” I’d have to put out…another issue to deal with and honestly…I’m usually calm and deal with each thing as it hits me. Today, however it felt like I was in a batting cage with the automatic ball pitcher … without a bat. Ducking and dodging and every once in a while making a catch but really? I was just picking the balls up one at a time trying not to get it hit by the next one.  

QuotationBut the meltdown never came and I even got to work on time after dropping off my daughter at school and it was a rather pleasant day. I kept a lighthearted attitude, laughed things off and smiled at every one who walked in. I know I have work to do when I get home and there are going to be a lot of difficult conversations that we need to have, I just pray no one ends up crying. I aim to have an open discussion about how our actions create reactions and perhaps ways of coping when things don’t seem to go our way. Heck, I am just as guilty half the time of not having the best knee-jerk response, nevertheless we can all learn from listening to others. “Listening is key to all effective communication” and one of my goals is to teach my children to listen to each other, listen to us as parents and perhaps we can avoid more frustrating scenarios like this morning. I always try to learn from each incident and this was a huge lesson. The older I get, the more I can see why the people who were old when I was young were so cranky. Patience is a gift, one that I have been blessed with and never take for granted. My hope is that I never reach that ornary place and that I can always greet each person pleasantly, “b’sever panim yafot” as the Mishna in Avos states.

Wishing all a year of peace, good health, happiness and prosperity in the new year.  

  

The Fragile Lives We Lead

I know we have no REAL control over what happens to us. Our end is pre-destined but we have the power to alter when that end is based on action and good deeds. Or so I’ve been told and firmly believe.

The older I get the more wise I feel, its true. There are certain things I am absolutely sure of. For example: As a child I refused to believe that if my brother slapped me while I was crossing my eyes, I could get stuck that way, however as an adult, I know this can be a truth. Other less obvious things are mostly feelings now, but feelings I am so sure of, I can almost say with certainty that there is truth behind it. Once again, being a believe in G-d, the outcome can change for anyone when it is His will.

This IS very deep for me, I know, I apologize. Sometimes I get philosophical and need to pour out my thoughts and feelings…mostly when I am emotional about something. Like my posts

The Best Show Ever – And It’s Not Even Broadway

or

The Boy, The Man & Me

As funny as I think I am, these are the posts that have gotten the most hits, likes and feedback.

Today, I am emotional. Overtired from taking my best friend to the airport (over an hour drive away) and returned at the house by 5:30 AM and then got the kids off to school and myself at work. No one missed the bus, everyone had lunch, brushed hair and teeth and clean clothing on…success. But still highly emotional.

My great-niece who is just a baby is on a respirator. Her mother, my niece, is upbeat and focused on getting the word out for prayer groups and staying positive. I on the other hand am an emotional wreck. This niece was my flower-girl. I watched her grow up and I myself am a mother of young children. I know first-hand what it feels like to have a newborn hospitalized and though her baby is not brand new, her baby is ill and needs help, good thoughts and prayers. I’ve watched my niece grow up, met her friends, she has helped me in times of need and she is pure goodness. To think that she has to suffer in this way is overwhelming me.

This time of year is auspicious for Jews. Rosh Hashana is the holiday where G-d decrees who will live and who will die in the coming year and we have 10 days until Yom Kippur to plead for a better outcome. Every year there is a passage that fills my heart with sadness and trepidation.

Here is the English of that prayer:

On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquillity and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.

Congregation aloud, then hazzan (the leader):

But REPENTANCE, PRAYER and CHARITY

Remove the Evil of the Decree!

We plead for mercy and hope we acted in the best possible way to be granted more time on this earth. My heart was broken on 9/11. My heart broke again with the massive loss in New Orleans and Japan. My heart breaks when I hear that older person passes right before the holidays…or worse, right after.

But we pray. We give charity. We repent and we ask each other for forgiveness. We act better. We speak nicer to each other. And we pray.

I am older and wiser and feel in my heart that when we spread word to help one another we make a difference. Maybe not in a way we can understand if G-d chooses a different outcome in the one we hoped for, but perhaps the difference will be in how we conduct ourselves.

May we all merit good health, and a happy, successful, fruitful new year.