What's It All About?

It's all too easy for days to pass without reflection. It's my hope that through a greater active awareness on each day, that I will be able to consider God's presence in my life and in the world around me. Writing has always been a way for me to round up my thoughts. This blog seems like a good place to park those thoughts for my own benefit as well as the benefit of others. Please take a moment to read what I have written, to offer comments, and to share the ideas with others.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Yom Kippur: Are You Really Sorry?

Backyard view-early AM-photo by Libby Fife
My religious views and practices are a mash up of my own chosen religion, Judaism, and concepts and teachings pulled from other religions. To my mind, it's all part and parcel of one thing: worship of and reverence for God and the world that he has provided for us. It makes no difference to me where the ideas come from so long as I understand them, accept them and apply them. I have heard this way of believing called something like a "supermarket" style of belief; picking and choosing what you want from a shelf filled with available pieces from your own religion and perhaps too from other religions or ways of belief. This method involves a selectivity that implies something negative such as saying you are religious while not attending services regularly. The implication is that overall, you are practicing your religion wrong because you don't fully practice it on all levels. There is an element of hypocrisy which is of course an extremely pejorative term. Well, too bad is what I say! I am not sorry for how I do things.

And not being sorry of course leads me to the approaching day, the Day of Atonement known as Yom Kippur in the Jewish holiday cycle. This is the day to be sorry of all days throughout the year. It's an extremely serious and solemn time for Jews everywhere. The entire set of the two holidays, known as The Days of Awe, are a real mix of joy, discovery, thankfulness and sincere feelings. Rosh Hashanah begins the time of personal reflection, of reviewing where a person has gone wrong, and of trying to make sincere amends with the hope of getting things right in the coming year. By the time Yom Kippur rolls around, a person has to have made corrections and believe that things are on the right track. You have to mean it too and put your plan into action because by today, the day of Atonement, God is making a final verdict on your fate. And in fact, your fate will be sealed in God's book! You'd better have it together because this is serious!

With that in mind, as I mentioned above, I am not sorry for how I practice my beliefs. I am of course truly sorry when I fall short of thinking and doing, when I miss opportunities and when I don't fully engage with all of the gifts I have been given. When I wrong someone, I really try and fix that act. Being mindful to begin with, taking time to look around and appreciate, and trying to do for others in my own way are all things that I feel add to the equation. For those things, I will always try and improve each day in some small way. And I hope that is pleasing and acceptable to God because to me, it feels just fine.

Rather than face today with regrets or fear, I will focus on being sure and positive. If you have belief in the idea that you are getting it right most of the time, I think a person can feel OK. G'Mar Hatimah Tovah: May you be sealed for a good year. Simply put for everyone, may the upcoming year be a good and happy one!

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