I had a lot of trouble finding meaning in this week’s parashat: Noach. After meditating on it, I realized it’s because I didn’t relate to Noach or life in the ark. I couldn’t relate to the experience of being saved on a surface level. I had to dig deeper and ask myself a lot of question. And keep asking questions. In the end, I couldn’t come to an articulate conclusion, so I wrote this short poem based on what I scribbled down in the midst of this:
The month of Elul is not only about self-reflection and finding our inner-selves. It’s also about apologizing for every time we “missed the mark” this past year.
Apologizing can be hard. The more time that passes, the more difficult apologizing gets. We don’t want to bring up the past and open old wounds, I get it.
Have you considered that apologizing is empowering?
Growing up, I was taught that admitting when I’m wrong is an admirable thing. Swallowing your pride and being vulnerable with the truth is an admirable trait. Personally, I’m brutally honest (just ask my friends and family) and am the first to admit when I’m wrong and these are all values that are very important to me.
I thought long and hard about everyone I’ve wronged and could have treated better, only to realize the biggest apology I owe is to Myself.
After a (few) long and painful meditation sessions I was prepared to get it all out… So here it is:
I’m sorry for mistreating you
For distrusting you
I questioned your ability and doubted your intelligence
And made you feel powerless.
I told you you were worthless for so long
You turned into nothingness
I’m sorry for starving you from light
For so long
Now your heart is too dark
For your mind to wander
I turned your dreams into demons
And left your heart too barren
For any love to grow.
I’ve done nothing but wrong you
I made you feel small and weak
Convinced that you were incompetent
I’ve mutilated you
Denied you and
Cast you out from your people
I filled your soul with doubt
Bitterness and sadness
I’m sorry for making you believe you’re not strong enough to
Weather the storm and
Work through all this pain I have caused you
I deemed you unworthy of anything good and
Made you think your life is not worth living
I know apologies will not heal these deep wounds
I’ve afflicted you.
It’s time to thank you.
Thank you for having the strength to still be here
For never giving up on me
I hope you can forgive me and
We can fix things together.
I don’t know how I will ever repay you but
I will spend the rest of my life trying
This being my first Elul, I had a lot of reflection to catch up on. It’s been an intense few weeks of attempting to revive my soul (and I’m happy to report that it’s working.) I thought I would have a lot to apologize for, but looking back I am proud of how I’ve handled confrontation, avoided drama and been honest with myself this past year and would not do anything differently.
I encourage you to also spend some time with yourself. What should you apologize for? Who has wronged you? What should you thank yourself for? Maybe even write yourself a letter too.