Friday was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. The Days of Awe are what some call the
As I was doing some cleaning, I came across a piece of paper on which I'd written, probably copied: "With clean hands we find our grace. We realize the slate can be as clean as we allow it to be."
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases." (NLT). God forgives all of my sins and heals all of my dis-eases, those abnormalities of my being.
If you're still with me, you're wondering how all of these things go together. First, then, thanks for hanging with me.
Humanity seems to have a need to refresh and reset. At New Year's we want a clean slate. It is a time of hopefulness. We try for no regret and no recriminations. I believe we hope and try to learn from our mistakes, but wallowing in them, speculating on the "what if" of the past is pointless. We live in the present. The road that wasn't taken doesn't really matter as long as we learn something from that experience that informs our present and helps us prepare for a better future. Our mistakes and failures are just as important in shaping who we are and the kind of people we can be as our successes.
But it can be hard to forgive ourselves, so our slates may not be as clean as we could allow them to be. Yom Kippur doesn't mean Jews can't repent and seek reconciliation any time during the year, but it marks the importance of going through that process, sealing that in the past, and moving on to the future. Reflection is important; dwelling and wallowing, however, don't help us grow or improve.
"Regrets don't help anyone." Mr. Williams is right; they don't. Reflecting on our behavior and actions, acknowledging mistakes, seeking repentance where it is due, learning from our reflections and mistakes, living in the present, and striving for a better future.
That's what can help us become better people. For ourselves; for everyone.