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A Refreshing Breeze

September 17, 2013

By Sister Renee Y.

Gentle BreezeIt was a joy to open the windows this morning. Behind last night’s scattered storms rolled a sweet breeze, washing away yesterday’s heavy heat.

This refreshing gift is a perfect symbol for the solemnity observed last week by Jewish people throughout the world – Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. Its central themes are atonement and repentance – refreshment from the burdens that weigh our souls.

It is a day to ask for and to offer forgiveness, that sweet breeze which clears the heart of hate, anger, vengeance and judgement. These oppressive attitudes can occupy our spirits in both obvious and invisible forms.

Sometimes we can see clearly that a person’s life is filled with these attitudes. They spew hateful words and impose an angry atmosphere wherever they are. But for others, these impediments linger in the shadows of our lives, leaving us without hope, energy, openness and freedom. And because they are deeply buried in our past experiences, we do not recognize their effect on our health and happiness. It is said that holding on to such attitudes is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

As our Jewish friends commemorate this beautiful Holy Day, all of us might think about where we need to forgive ourselves and others. We might pause to realize the small poisons we are drinking without even realizing it. They accumulate and eventually will kill the fully-realized soul we were created to be.

It takes great courage to cross a long-avoided bridge to say “I’m sorry.” It takes tremendous effort to put down our demands for retribution and to say, “I forgive you.” We may need help, both from loved ones and professionals, to free ourselves from more debilitating hurts. But we need to do this to live fully. And what a sweet breeze will fill our spirits if we can do these things!

Blessings to all who celebrate Yom Kippur and to all who seek the power of forgiveness in their lives.

Image: cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Eric QIAN

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