Aftermath of Elul

During Elul, we prepare ourselves for the holiday of Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur. We are commanded to look within ourselves and to prepare by apologizing to those we have wronged throughout the year.

I don’t know about others but for me, I know this year was the first when I was able for a long time to even consider taking baby steps in this direction. There was one friend in particular that I wanted to apologize to. I wasn’t exactly sure why she had stopped speaking to me but I had an idea and since she wasn’t speaking to me and I have a mindnumbing fear of confrontation, I wrote a letter to her apologizing for all of the things I could imagine I may have done that could have caused the rip in our friendship. I invited her to write back and gave her my email address. I even explained a lot of what happened to me the last few years medically so maybe she’d have some understanding of where I was coming from as well.

And for some reason I had an expectation she’d understand and this apology, while not totally healing the rift between us, may be a little bridge to hopefully gaining a foothold and hopefully opening a little crack in the door that had closed between us.

And today I am having to accept that I was wrong. That rift is unhealable. I don’t even know if she forgave me. The answer to my letter of apology was a big, fat sound of crickets.

Oh I could rationalize it and tell myself she didn’t get it but I think she did. Maybe a letter was wrong but I didn’t really have any other way. I’ve sent emails in the past and the reaction was the same.

Silence.

I sent another Rosh Hashanah greeting and the response was the same.

Silence.

This only serves to drive me deeper into myself and to cause me even more self blame and depression. I know I deserve it and I know I cannot force anyone to forgive me. That’s their choice. I can’t force anyone to respond to me. Again, their choice.

But I do know how it makes me feel and I know it makes me take up residence even further inside of myself and trust venturing out even less. These people were friends and they don’t want me. What would make me think anyone else would.

I know it’s a bummer of a message to receive as the joyous holiday of Sukkot starts but it is the aftermath of Elul for me. I want to add that it doesn’t really change anything for me except for piling just a little more Jewish guilt on my plate,

I am who I am. I have disappointed and hurt whom I have have. They will forgive or they won’t. I am further convinced that the leprosy of my neshama (Jewish soul) lives forever and will never be cured.

The aftermath of my Elul probably will also never go away.

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Being Jewish Makes Me So Happy

I love being Jewish….

There, I’ve put it out there.

But really it’s true.  And it’s so true that I really feel deep inside that I have to embrace my Jewish life ever closer to me.  I hate that I fell away, that I am so far away from it.  I want to be closer and while I still feel so embraced by Gd, I still feel that my foot is still on those first few rungs of the ladder.  My very own Jacob’s ladder.

But it’s still on there.  And I know I’ll climb up it again simply because of sheer will and determination.  I just feel that fire inside and as I grow ever closer to my return.

I really don’t even know that my return will ever be complete but I know that it’s a road I never want to stop following.

And Baruch HaShem, it’s one I never have to STOP following.

#BlogELUL – End

I haven’t been really good at doing these Elul posts but I am not going to get all over myself about it.  I am here today right?

Today’s topic is END.

I ended a relationship this Elul and maybe not in the best way possible.  I decided that I couldn’t continue on with my therapist anymore.  It had to do with two things.  First it had to do with that I perceived as her blind devotion to the nurse practitioner she had me seeing for my medication checks.

I had told her at least three times that I could not stand this woman.  That I felt demeaned and not listened to.  That she messed up the medication scripts and then acted as if I was a medication seeking junkie when I tried to discuss my real issues with her.  When I told her I couldn’t sleep, she told me to do kegel exercises to I wouldn’t wake up at night to use the bathroom (really?).  The next visit she told me to eat a huge meal before bed so my blood sugar wouldn’t drop in the middle of the night (REALLY?).  I was getting half fills of medications and no refills on others I needed.  When I discussed ones that I’d had at the hospital just weeks before, she told me I wasn’t going to be continued on them anyway so I should just stop taking them before I ran out before I got attached to them.  This caused great angst and panic and well, a massive breakup.

And when I would tell my therapist all of this she would staunchly defend the nurse practitioner and this went on through three months of appointments…until it became clear they both had to go.

And this made me sad but I also knew I had to do it but like the Doctor (you know, The DOCTOR (Who)), I don’t like endings.  So being the super coward I am, I just called and said I was going in another direction and to cancel my standing appointment and thanks for the memories and bye.  I mean it sounds worse than it was simply because you can’t get anyone on the phone anymore so leaving a message is the only choice anyway.

But I also know not only does it sound bad, it was bad form.

So my resolution for Elul is to send a little card.  Not a great big one which would put me out of my mind but a little one and just say I went to another place and I am being taken care of by good people and a great doctor and not to worry.  That I appreciate all she did for me and I think of her often.  I think that would say all I want to say.

There’s another person  in my life that I lost through the divorce – the loss of whom saddens me.  We used to be very close friends.  As with all of it, it was a matter of whose story got to her first and she has chosen not to listen to mine at all, which, of course, is her choice.  But I would like to tell her how much I miss her, how sorry I am if I let her down or hurt her and how I valued our friendship very much.

I don’t want to get too far into it because I know it’s not all my fault and maybe it’s not my fault at all but I think it’s a good time of year to just say this and to never have to worry about it again so I will.  I don’t expect anything to come of it but my own peace of mind that I told her what she means to me and that I miss her.  I am not even sure I want to put a return address on the card.

Sometimes I wish I could be more like my son.  I raised that kid with such a powerful sense of self and right and wrong.  He knows his boundaries and he knows when someone treats him in a way he finds disrespectful.  He doesn’t accept it.  I bow to it and take it and ask for more of it.  I think the only situation where I haven’t in recent memory is this situation with my therapist…and of course, it weights heavily on my mind.  Did I do something wrong?  Will she still like me?

I have been having a rough week accepting my limitations due to my illness but hopefully I am moving in the right direction as we journey together towards Rosh HaShanah….a new year and a new beginning for us all.

Elul – Time for Introspection

I decided that it’s time for some introspection in my life.  Time to step back, time to evaluate where I am going and how I am getting there.  Time to look at where I have been and really, this year, enjoy the peak at which I find myself and savor the view a little.

Sometimes I think the month of Elul can be used as a time to be a little negative with oneself.  To fine ones faults and to find ways to start anew.  To see where we have wronged others and to right those wrongs and change our paths.

Last year I didn’t even find celebrating the High Holy Days within myself.  I acknowledged them and yes, I remember I was at the beach at Rosh Hashanah and I remember going on a walk at dawn to watch the sunrise and vaguely I felt the face of Gd smile upon me but not like I had in years past.  It was a weak trickle of sunlight, like the cold winter sunlight across a frozen tundra.

I have always loved the coming of the Holy Day of Rosh Hashanah.  I take the visualisation of the Master in the fields quite literally and conceptualise it as fields bathed in golden sunshine as the Master smiles upon all he surveys and the workers smile in pleasure that he is there.

Last year had none of that.

This year I feel a small anticipation.  I am thinking of a menu for Rosh Hashanah.  And for Elul I am thinking of building up to that joyous day.  I am thinking of preparing myself by filling my basket with joy.

I have spent the last year rebuilding myself from the inside out.  There is much work yet to be done.  Baskets to be filled with fruit and grain.  Wine bottles to be filled.  And it will not be competed by the time the Master enters the field of my life but it will be more complete than it was last year and I know he will be pleased.

Every day is another step on the ladder.  Sometimes it is an excruciating climb.  Sometimes I slip and fall all the way to the ground and am crushed under the weight of my burden almost to the point where I absolutely know I cannot climb the ladder again.

And that is when the Master sees me and picks me up and helps me put my foot on that first rung again and he watches me lift myself onto it.  Then he walks away knowing I have my start.

It is time to show him what I have achieved.  And I am so very very proud of myself this year.

I hope The Master will be too.