Atonement of my own making

As you might already know, I’m a Jew(ish) chick. As such, today, according to the laws of my people, I’m supposed to be starving myself of food and drink as part of the atonement for the previous year of sins. This one day is supposed to be a fresh start – if I follow the rules of the day, I’m to be forgiven all my transgressions for the year that has passed and be inscribed in the Book of Life for the year to come.

Well, as you might also already know, I don’t follow rules most of the time  (any time?) when it comes to religion. I was more active in the synagogue we belonged to while married, as my ex comes from a Conservative family, but now its main function for me is a place where the little monkey learns about her heritage and prepares for kindergarten.

So this morning, instead of going to temple, I went for a run.  We’re suffering through yet another heat wave and I knew if I didn’t make it out before mid-morning, my hopes for exercise would be dashed.  I got out of bed, while the Man slept. I brushed my teeth, put on my fancy spandex running shorts and tank, laced up my sneaks, shoved my iPhone in the armband and set out.  The morning was cool, around 68°F, surprising given as I write this, it’s still 96°F.  It seemed almost Fall-like, and according to the calendar it should be, but the Southern California weather and the green, leafy trees, still haven’t caught up yet.  I put on my best thinking/running music (Justin Timberlake at the moment) and pondered the last year.

Did I take the easy way out instead of making a good choice (as I always implore my daughter to do)?

–Yes, at times, particularly when it comes to taking care of myself.  I’ve not made the best choices in regards to eating, exercise or stress reduction at times, and it shows in the way my clothes fit, how I feel about myself, and how I deal with life in general. There were times when I could have taken more care with my words to others, and this also has to do with me not taking care of myself. Sometimes, I let things go too long before saying something bothers me, and when I finally let the emotions out, they sting — not just me, but everyone around me. This is something I have to work on. I suppose going for a run this morning was a good start.

Did I show compassion for the pain and suffering of others?

–Yes, for the most part. Even when that overflow of pain and suffering from others caused me pain, I’ve made a conscious effort this year to not take anything personally, pause and take the high road.  I’m sure I could have done better in some respects, but I think I’ve done pretty well here.

Did I go through the motions? Live an unexamined life?

–Definitely not. I’ve lived with intention to the best of my ability and reflected nearly daily on this blog.

Did I do anything so terrible that I would be ashamed if anyone found out?


Are there any areas that I feel need adjustment?

–Yes, particularly being more patient and present with my daughter…and myself.  It’s a work in progress.

Sweat beads acquired, I finished my run, stretched out my muscles and went about my regularly scheduled Saturday.  I’ve never felt that in order to reflect, I needed to sit in a room with other people and deprive myself of food and drink. I think that’s the introvert in me, partially. I suppose some people say that worship within organized religion is a form of nourishment, and for those who are satisfied by that, more power to them. Those concepts have always been foreign to me; instead I have always found sanctuary in nature, and increasingly through meditation.

Last year, at this time, my divorce was just about finalized. I had met someone new and wonderful who was willing to walk together with me in life, going so far as to drive 2000 miles to do so on a permanent basis. Since then, I’ve managed to carve out a new normal with the Man, the little monkey and myself. We occasionally hit some stumbling blocks, but we work through it. This blog has taken on a life that I never imagined I’d have the energy for, and it now provides me with much of the creative fuel I need to survive.  It is my hope that in reflecting daily, practicing compassion and forgiveness (for myself and others) daily, and asking for that in return, I am not only living a life that I can be proud of, but setting a good example for my daughter.

Yes, I think that’s good enough for this Jew(ish) chick.


By Joy

I'm 42, a remarried mom of an 8 year old girl and a toddler son, a teacher, and a writer. People tell me I tend to be brutally honest and ...tell it like it is, so I had hoped to use this outlet to keep me sane while I got used to my new life as a stay-at-home Mom back when I was home with my worked. And it's been therapeutic through the end of a marriage and the emergence of me...


  1. I really like your post Joy 🙂 I could relate to it somehow. When I was a kid, Kippur was nothing more to me that a day of starvation and non drinking, as you put it. Family is very open, but my grand parents on my Dad’s side were not. After all, my grand grand dad was a rabbi 😉 I guess I would have run away from the whole practice thing if I had not end up with an awesome non Jew. My family is so mixed, he is Christian although not practicing, we are currently living in a very Catholic country and my kids are a mix of it all. This year, after a really long time, I was happy to do Kippur actually, not to impose it on anyone, but just because it felt good to me to connect somehow with my roots. This time of year is the best : Divali with our Indian neighbors, Hannuka, Xmas, and eventually my Bday 😉 Chana Tova my dear, you are doing great, peace is wherever you are happy to be, and being gentle is an every day motto, would be too easy to make it only 1 day a year 😉 X

    1. Chana Tova to you too Estelea – thank you for such a meaningful comment! I am mixed as well – my father is Puerto Rican (some Catholic, some Pentecostal Christian). I think it is beneficial to see so many points of view growing up. Hugs to you in Cebu!

What's your 2 sense?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.