The day guilt took a holiday
I joke around sometimes that I have an overactive guilty conscience. What may not even register a blip on the consciences of most people can sometimes leave me feeling like I have committed an enormous sin or at least a sizable error.
And then the beating myself up begins.
I should have known better.
I should have had more self-discipline.
I should have, I shouldn’t have, and the list can go on.
When I’m in particularly fine form, I go down the mental road of feeling like I’ve let my community down, I’ve let everyone down, I’ve let G-d down.
Needless to say the weight of such self-talk can metaphorically drive someone to her knees.
But what if for one day guilt would take a holiday?
I’m not talking about doing whatever without a sense of responsibility, integrity or what is right.
I’m talking about a day where that seemingly incessant negative chatter in our minds has the volume turned right down.
Where we can go through our day weighing our choices against our values and what matters to us but without that inner sense of guilt that can lead us to feel horribly about ourselves.
Where we accept that we are human and will make mistakes.
Where we recognize that as people, we aren’t and can never be perfect.
Where we realize that trying to hold ourselves up to impossibly high standards, there will inevitably come a time where we will be unable to measure up to the expectations we have in our own minds.
Yes, we do have a responsibility beyond ourselves. We are meant to do what we can to make this world and this life better not just for ourselves but also for our families, communities and beyond, each of us in our own way.
At the same time, we are also human, with human strengths and frailties, moments of brilliance and moments we wish we could undo and try again.
Moments of feeling that things are just flowing.
Moments where we feel the struggle acutely from deep within.
Moments of joy and clearly seeing the blessing.
Moments we feel trapped, stuck and where the pain threatens to swallow us whole.
Moments of laughter, moments of tears.
Insights of clarity and moments of seemingly utter confusion.
Moments of courage and moments of giving into the self-doubt.
Moments of faith and moments where the fears seem to take centre stage.
What if just for today, those feelings of guilt, doubt and confusion could take a holiday?
What if for today we were able to truly see ourselves as created in the Divine Image, as the perfectly imperfect human beings we are? As people who strive to be the best versions of ourselves all with the understanding and deep, deep knowledge that on some days we will do better at this than on others?
And what if, for today, we could see and feel that this is more than enough?
That we are more than enough? That G-d is there for us in each of those moments, always has been and always will be. When we’re thriving – and in those moments when we’re afraid that we’ve let Him down.