Why Yom Kippur was different this year
This Yom Kippur feels different
I am an intense person. At times very intense. Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur would always afford me the opportunity to let my intensity run wild. I would face my creator with trepidation, but in reality I was a fraud. A fraud? I never tried to be a fraud, but I never came authentically to G-d as a human, A very vulnerable human with many many mistakes. I never knew G-d and I never even knew myself. The 2 were somewhat intertwined. Let me try and explain. Before this year 2018, my view of G-d was distorted because I saw Him through my eyes, and my life experiences. I never could fathom a father who does the best for His child, because He knows His child and loves her unconditionally. A father that gives everything: joy, gifts and difficulties because that is exactly what His daughter needs. I had no frame of reference for a father who was aware of the intrinsic worthiness and beauty of His child. G-d always knew that, I just never knew He did, just as I never perceived myself worthy and lovable the way that I am.
On one hand on Yom Kippur, we come to G-d to ask forgiveness and do “teshuva.” Teshuva means returning. We are not only returning to Him, but to ourselves. We are returning to our essence, the way that G-d sees us- intrinsically perfect. He sees us through loving, adoring eyes, as only a father could. He definitely does not perceive us the way we see ourselves. Sometimes it takes bravery and honesty to really look in the mirror. We are so used to finding our flaws that we forget our whole essence, of who we really are.
This year on Yom Kippur I come to G-d with a great gift. It is the gift of self-knowledge and self-acceptance. Knowing that I am perfectly imperfect. Not as an excuse to expand and run wild with my imperfection, but rather as an acceptance of self that I’m a work in progress. The beating myself down for the past 36 years did little to motivate me to step into who I’m supposed to be. Berating myself for messing up, not being better, not being farther ahead, not being more perfect did nothing to help me feel full and loved inside. It stripped me of my essence, my goodness and motivation to be more. I focused so hard on what I messed up on that I had no energy to honor what I did right. Honoring my victories has done way more for encouraging better behavior than the many years of self-flagellation. This year I come to G-d and ask forgiveness differently. Not because I sinned less, but because I see myself and G-d so differently.