Saturday, October 08, 2005

Thinking About Sin

Yom Kippur is a time for Jews to think about their sins of the past year and atone for them. It’s so nice that it is person to person, without involving God at all. Judaism is a very direct religion that does not require intermediaries.

So I’m pondering my sins today, thinking about whom I might have wronged. The most obvious person is my husband, since I spend so much time with him. I can’t even remember the last time we had a real fight about anything, but I often take him for granted because he is so constant and so present. He cooks dinner every weekday night for me and I often forget to be appreciative. He deals with all the crappy administrative things, like getting our license plates renewed and paying taxes and making sure our children have enough money and I often forget to be appreciative. He deals with all things electronic in our house and our cars and I often forget to be appreciative. He mentioned today that his chances for having a stroke are much greater because his father was a stroke victim. I felt my body tense as I thought about what I would need to do if that happened and how devastated I would be. I must make sure that he knows how much I appreciate him.

My biggest sin over the past year, however, is probably one of feeling needy. I seem to keep wanting friendships and relationships to grow in ways that are probably unrealistic. I know I am just making up for all those years of not really caring whether I had close friends or not because I was so invested in raising my family and in my job. I keep asking myself if it truly is a sin to feel needy, or whether neediness is a sign of being connected to humanity. If indeed this is a sin, I am not sure how to atone for it. I suppose I could just vow to put more emphasis on satisfying the neediness of others and perhaps my own neediness will seem less important.

I have not paid nearly enough attention to my wonderful dogs. When Daniel is home, he throws Jake’s kong for him every day. Rachel takes them for walks. My sole contribution is to feed them in the mornings and to give them a pat on the head as I head off for work. There is no one on this planet more loyal than Jake and Dylan. They really deserve more from me.

I’m sure this list of sins will grow as I move through the week and approach Yom Kippur on Wednesday at sundown. By then I will have prepared myself for a day of fasting and reflection. This yearly death and rebirth holiday is such a cleansing way to shed the sins of the past and wipe the slate clean for a brand new year. So many things about this religion make so much sense.

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