Jew in the suburbs


Yom Kippur is almost here: Letters of forgiveness

 

 

Hello Blog Readers,

 

  In previous posts, I have discussed repentance and gearing up for the New Year which has now come. What I didn’t tell you was how blessed I feel because of the New Year.  I haven’t told you before that I joyfully anticipated the New Year and that I am so happy that it is now here.  Last year was a very difficult year for me on a variety of levels.  One particular event which I may post about in the future stands out in my mind.  It is this event that causes me to think more than ever about forgiveness.  Seeking forgiveness and forgiving are very popular and necessary activates during these days of AWE.  In this past year, 5768, a person hurt me very badly.  If G-d forbid, I hurt someone, I do whatever I can to make it right.  Even more painful, than this person’s actions toward me was the lack of remorse shown.  This lack of remorse and the continuing behavior made it impossible for me to heal in front of them.  Every time I tried to express myself, all I got from this person was excuses and justifications.  The fact that someone could hurt me, be unapologetic and continue the behavior before I had a chance to heal from one ordeal was almost unbearable.  I truly believe the only thing that got me through and made me stronger, was my belief in Hashem, my belief that he does things for a reason.  In fact, for weeks there was a prayer I recited almost daily to strengthen one’s faith”, in a book called Aneni.  This prayer is very long but I made sure to say every word and I cried.  I cried many times saying this prayer begging Hashem to hear me, listen and count the tears that I cried.

 

I have been told by my friends that I am so good that I would step around ants,  I always want to do good and sometimes I feel that I don’t measure up.  We all know that we take out our pain on these we love most. That is where the saying you hurt the ones you love comes from.  I did this.  There are people in my life that I love dearly and I knew that they would always love me so sometimes, without meaning to, I took out my pain on them.  I told them I didn’t mean to do it and I told them how much pain I was in, but telling them that I didn’t mean to take the situation out on them didn’t seem to be enough.  During the month of Elul when I was first beginning my Teshuvah process, I wrote these people a letter thanking them for being so supportive, apologizing for taking out my pain on them, but acknowledging that my pain was no excuse, telling them and meaning it that I wasn’t mentioning my pain as an excuse. I was simply stating a fact.  I told them that I love them,  I told them how much they meant to me, I thanked them from the bottom of my heart, and as I wrote, tears rolled down my face.  Since I had been contemplating this letter for hours, I knew what I wanted to say, and didn’t expect the tears, but I was happy that they came.  That night I prayed to Hashem to help me completely let go of the pain that a certain person inflicted on me.  That night, I prayed to Hashem to help me forgive this person.  I knew the only way I could completely 100% move on was if I forgave this person.  I want to make one thing clear, I never wished harm on this person even after the person hurt me, but every time I thought of this person, I could feel the hurt.  In the beginning it was a throbbing pain, and as I began to move on, it became an ache.  The night that I prayed to Hashem to help me forgive, I released the person who hurt me from my life.  This means that if by some chance this person enters my mind there is no sadness and there is no anger there is no excruciating pain, and there is no ache.  I do not miss this person and I know I didn’t deserve the treatment that I received which at the beginning I blamed myself for.

 

 It is important to remember that just because you forgive someone for tremendous pain they may have caused you it doesn’t mean that you have to invite them back into your life.  It can just mean that you release them from your life. By this I mean you don’t think about what they would have said, or what they would have done in a certain situation, you don’t think about the cruel things they said about you, and you know the things that aren’t true.  Forgiveness can also mean that when releasing the person who injured you, you release yourself from a burden no longer worth carrying around.

 

I gave my letter seeking forgiveness to the people who helped me through a very difficult time and who always understood why I was in pain.  I received their forgiveness and they were happy to receive my letter, however there are times that I have forgiven someone by writing them a letter which I never send.  In some cases when you are trying to forgive a person, in my experience, they don’t always have to read or hear the words that you want so desperately to say.  Sometimes writing a letter forgiving someone and not sending it is enough to forgive and release yourself from pain.

 Although I feel that throughout the past I have been moving on, with the New Year, I feel completely free of the pain.  I feel as if the pain I felt was not my own but some other woman’s, who my heart can go out to.  Of course I know that the pain I felt happened to me because of the process I had to go through, in order to deal with. It made me a stronger woman, and I’m proud of that. 

 

Thank you Hashem for helping me through and helping me to become stronger than I was before!  Thank you Hashem for this New Year and may we all be sealed in the book of life for a good life of only Simcha.   Have a meaningful yet easy fast!

 

 


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