Friday, September 24, 2010

The Accounting

I recently closed my bank account and put my money into a new, more convenient bank down the street from where I live. When I saw the official stamp “account closed,” I had an existential thought: Which one of my accounts has been liquidated?

Perhaps I am free of some debt that I made in another lifetime that has followed me into this planet. Perhaps my sincere prayers during the Jewish High Holidays tipped the proverbial scale and my good deeds now outweigh my bad ones. I have a clean ledger with God.

Will I ever know what I left undone in my former lives? Will my life take a change for the better now that I have made the payoff? How will this accounting be revealed? I waited for the answer in real time.

It appears with every deposit I make and every withdrawal I take.

I love my neighborhood bank. They call me by name when I walk in. They say, “Good morning!” and smile when they say, “What can I do for you today?”. It may sound phony, but I like this new attention that is directed towards me as a person of value.

Account closed. Account opened. Blessed be the bank tellers. They qualify as my new best friends. I like that change!

Friday, September 17, 2010

An Acceptable Apology

Dear Rabbi,

Question: Can one send a letter of forgiveness through the Internet? And will it count?

Response: The ideal situation would be a face-to-face dialogue of forgiveness. You can see the other person's expression and, if all goes well, you can receive a physical manifestation of forgiveness by the strength of a hug or the flow of tears.

The less than ideal situation would be a telephone conversation or a handwritten letter signed, sealed and delivered.

What about a text message, email, Twitter, Facebook? What if forgiveness comes in the form of a dozen roses? Or a bundt cake? Chocolate from Godiva?

Let forgiveness begin when the opportunity arises. Just do it. Take the Nike plunge.

Dear friend,

Question: How do you feel about my Internet apology below?

If I put all my friends and family in a large auditorium, and I asked each of you to forgive me for all the things I said or did that offended you, I would be overwhelmed with the capacity of love the exchange would produce. You are my vision as I step into the Day of Atonement with my heart trembling. Forgive me. Pardon me. Accept my apologies. Grant me atonement.

Let the forgiveness virus seep into your computers and provide protection against everyday conflicts and clashes. May you be inscribed in the Book of Forgiveness.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Begin Again? A Rosh Hashanah message

Begin Again?

*“Hey, you, begin again! Again? Again. Again, you’ll see it’s easy. Begin again.”*

*Grace Paley, author*

How easy is it to begin again?

Especially after the loss of a loved one, a financial downturn, a miscarriage, a cancer diagnosis?

How easy is it to begin again?

Not very easy.

And yet, at every moment, through every crisis, we are asked to begin again.

During the Days of Awe, the Jewish prayers remind us of the promise of teshuvah, the powerful possibility of return, renewal and repentance. We are asked to reroute and redirect our lives.

As Rosh Hashanah draws near, we think to ourselves, again? Please, God. Spare me the directions!

The directions come anyway like streams of light in a dark wooded sky.

In order to begin again, we must let go of what we imagined our life to be.

Every morning, I say goodbye to yesterday. I look into the dawn of the present daylight.

What choice do I have?

Shall I return to the deep, dark sleep of the night and stay hidden and

Or, shall I dance into the music of life and step into the river of revelation?

I choose to begin again. What will you choose this year?

*Shanah tovah tikateivu,*

*May you be written into the Book of Life again!*

Friday, September 3, 2010

Falling Upward

I lift up my eyes to the mountains anticipating help. Psalm 121

I tripped and fell on a crack in the sidewalk. I scraped my knee and ruined my new pair of Calvin Klein sheer silky taupe pantyhose. I lay on the ground anticipating my next move.

I looked up.

A twenty-something, dressed-for-success man offered me his hand and lifted me up.

He then proceeded to gather the scattered contents of my feminine purse: lip gloss, hand lotion, Kleenex tissues, Trident Bubblegum, and a Chanel make-up compact case with the mirror now broken into tiny fractions. He handled each item with the care of a jeweler counting his diamonds.

There will always be cracks in the road. You will not always see them. Even if you detect them, you may not be able to avoid them. Pavement buckles from the heat. The earth shifts gradually and invisibly.

Chances are the cracks will find you off balance. Pray for diamonds in the sky. Look up.

The fall is temporary if you fall upward!