PREPENT DAY 38
Tishrei 9 5776 – September 22 2015
It has gotten chilly at nights and in the early mornings these past few days. Fall is here. When we started this journey just over a month ago the summer was still in full force.
Everything changes whether we like it or not.
Today, the eve of Yom Kippur, we prepare to withstand all changes including the most drastic one perhaps – our eventual own demise.
If this was the last day of my life – as in some manipulative mythic way today is – how would I spend it?
- Unfinished Business #1: I’m picking up the white pants from the tailor, cutting my nails.
- Unfinished Business #2: There are three people to whom I need to apologize for not showing up for. Phone call, email, one actual visit.
- Feast: for those of us fasting, the pre-fast meal is a memorable gathering of flavors with the built in panic and a timeline and the taste of what it tastes like to eat for the last time.
- Complete my mini-ethical will as promised
- Hug the ones I love and near me. For real.
The list can go on, not indefinitely because time will run out. But the one item that strikes me as most critical this year is #2 – apologies – eye to eye communication, leaving as few as possible tracks of hurt behind. This is a day that enables us to say “I am sorry” with the added weight of gravity and context. This is always easier than we imagine it to be, esp. with those with whom it is the hardest to do.
Erica Brown writes in ‘Return’: “We are always apologizing. New research contends that most of us apologize about four times a week. We say sorry all of the time. Reading the findings might lead us to believe that as people we are honest, generally contrite, humble, able to confront our mistakes and also take accountability for them – until you read further; we actually apologize 22 more to strangers than to romantic partners and family…
Because our apologies are not always real apologies, we find ourselves visiting and revisiting familiar problems. Every year, we find ourselves asking forgiveness from the same people for the same offenses. Every year, we recommit ourselves to work on the same self-improvement projects we’ve pledged ten times before.
Can we break a cycle today and say sorry to self or others in a way real enough to make a breakthrough?
On this day, Prepent 38, with one more day to enter the holy of holies and one more day beyond to rebuild our lives, I’m focusing on as many amend-makings within the realm of what’s realistic.
For inspiration I rewatched this 2 min. segment of Steve Job’s parting words: What if this is my last day alive?
By the time the sun sets over New York tonight I hope to have had the courage, care, compassion and humility to call N. and M. and B., speak with S., write to A.
By the time the sun sets over New York tonight I hope to have my white pants perfectly tailored on me, a shroud of sorts, to guide me and my bare feet across the threshold into the temple of time for one more sacred night and day of presence.
By the time the sun sets over the world tonight I hope that many of us will look each other in the eye with clear intent and kindness, ready to breath our last and ready to begin again with extra passion.
Easy fast. Meaningful words and silences.
G’mar Chatima Tova: May we be Signed and Sealed in the Book of Life.