Today is my mom’s birthday.* (Happy birthday Mom!) It’s also Rosh Hashanah.** The only reason I know that is because I know the Jewish New Year always falls on or around her birthday. And the only reason I know that is because my mom likes to observe Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in her own Mormonized way. She prays, she repents, she seeks forgiveness from anyone she may have wronged, she seeks to forgive anyone against whom she holds any hard feelings, and she tries to draw nearer to God.
What strikes me most about Yom Kippur is that it is not a day of forgiving others; it is a day for seeking forgiveness for your own wrongdoings.
It’s difficult to look at ourselves and acknowledge our imperfections. I don’t mean how un-Pinterest-worthy our homes are, or how our nail polish is chipping, or how we fed the kids chocolate banana bread for lunch and called it good. I mean our real imperfections.
The ways we harm others through our words, actions, or even inactions.
The unmerited, unkind judgement we pass on people every day.
The little lies we tell, thinking they won’t matter because they are so very little.
Sometimes I get caught up keeping a tally of ways I’ve been wronged. As I go over and over that list, I forget that I’m constantly making another list of mistakes I’ve made against others. This is especially true in my marriage. I focus on how David never puts away the comb and lotion after bathing the girls, but I always forget to rinse the dishes well before I load the dishwasher like he has asked me to a billion times. Oops.
When it comes down to it, I always have a choice. I can hold a grudge toward him for forgetting yet again, or I can put the comb away and not worry about it. I can ignore his small request, or I can apologize and try to remember to take that extra step when it’s my turn to clean the kitchen. I can resent the fact that I can’t control his actions, or I can try to improve my own.
I can forgive and ask forgiveness. I can do better.
We need to go to our spouses and recognize our shortcomings against them. We need to apologize and seek their forgiveness in things large and small.
I’m sorry I forgot to mail that important package today. I’m sorry I snapped at you earlier. I’m sorry I ate the last brownie. I’m sorry I keep clogging the shower with my hair. I’m sorry I returned the library book before you finished it. I’m sorry I didn’t put gas in your car after I drove it the other day.
I’m sorry I didn’t show trust in your parenting skills. I’m sorry I placed my friend’s opinion above yours. I’m sorry I said mean things about you on the internet. I’m sorry I teased you a little too much. I’m sorry I haven’t made you feel important and special lately. I’m sorry I made you cry.
We all make mistakes. We all need to forgive others and we all need to ask for their forgiveness in return.
Maybe it’s time we set aside a day to reconcile ourselves with our spouses. Be humble. Acknowledge our imperfections. Apologize.
And then do better.
*It’s also my sister’s birthday, and while she didn’t really fit into the narrative I was creating here, I didn’t want to leave her out. Happy birthday Kim! Love you!
**I have nothing but the utmost respect for the
Jewish faith, culture, and traditions, despite my limited knowledge
thereof. If I have misrepresented them in any way, I hope you will a) correct
me and b) forgive me for my ignorance.