Mel’s Corner

Melanie Fitch, Staff Writer

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Friday, September 29, the Hebrew/Jewish holyday (intentional spelling) Yom Kippur began with the setting of the sun. Yom Kippur or The Day of Atonement is, traditionally, a time for reflection. It is a time when people are meant to look back on their actions, attitudes and decisions of the previous year and identify those things that they were in error about. It’s the one time a year when many of them fast because they are supposed to atone for the wrong that they have done by “afflicting their souls”.

Granted, people not used to a fast may find it a serious “affliction” but I say take it a step further. One of the most painful things that a person may ever have to do is, sincerely make amends for something wrong that they have done. Not one of those crappy “I’m sorry if you were offended….”. There is no “if”. You know that they’re offended and they didn’t just get that way. Your actions caused the offense. Real atonement is owning whatever you did, and giving a sincere apology. For example, “I apologize for….., I hope that you will forgive me because I value our relationship and preserving it is important to me”.  The really challenging part is waiting to see how they reply because depending on what happened, they still may never forgive you. They might laugh in your face and tell you to get lost, but that is not the point. The point is, your focus is meant to be on growing yourself, not them, and growth of any kind is usually painful to some degree, but in the end, no one benefits from it more that you do.

You can watch the news on any given day and see evidence that age does not equal maturity. Contrary to the beliefs of the more hopeful among us, there are more immature old people than you might realize, and some of them are (frighteningly) in positions of great power and influence. Being a better person doesn’t always just happen, most of us must continue to work at it.

So, there is no better time than the present, to borrow a tradition from the pages of that good old Hebraic book. Because even if no one knows but you, we all have some type of mess, with a friend, colleague, family member or significant other, that we need to make a point of cleaning up, and on that note, I think it’s time to close, so I can call my sister….

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Mel’s Corner