Yom Kippur, A Day of Reflection

Inexplicable waves of irritability sometimes make it hard to tap into the patience that I value so highly. Then there are the washes of images from my life – faces of people come and gone that haunt me with possibilities lost… connections that were never made, potential for harmony never reached. The melancholy I feel is not from regret really, because all the mistakes brought with them great lessons. But I sometimes wish that things would have worked out better than they did.

I suppose this is a great place to be in for Yom Kippur. I don’t observe the holiday in the traditional sense. I don’t go to temple, I don’t fast, and I pray in my own way. And I think about how I’d like to forgive myself, and what things I’d like to change in my life, and how I could do better this year.

Religious holidays and rituals are, for me, not explicit instructions. They’re more like markers, indicating places and times where I could strive for a deeper connection with life’s mysteries. I prefer to craft them to my own needs and the current circumstances in the lives of my loved ones. If they’re not significant to us, then what purpose do they serve, really? Mere tradition as a rationale is no longer enough for me. Too many things have been done ad nauseum out of a sense of tradition, and they haven’t all worked out so great.

Another aspect of this holiday is to honor the dead. Kol nidre. We pray for their souls and remember them. This week brought the death of several greats – tech visionary Steve Jobs, civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth, and two years ago on the same day, my husband Ivor Balin Pannell. All great men, all visionaries in their own right. I am thinking about them and the way they lived their lives, the gifts they left to us in the form of their work, their words, their example. We honor them by letting them inspire us to do our best going forward.

This morning I’m listening to music. Moody, evocative songs being offered to me by my Pandora channel, mysteriously on target with my mood. Beth Orton, Eva Cassidy, Ray LaMontagne, Alison Krauss, Massive Attack, Coldplay… you get the picture. These muses channel the melancholy of bittersweet loving and yearning and feeling the prickly, sad dimensions of our happiness.

But this mood, like all, will soon shift. I won’t be sitting here in front of the computer all day. We’re preparing for a drive north, to visit an old friend, heading for a couple of days of joyful sharing and reminiscing and appreciating the beauty of the season. Time to turn this mood around!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Today I ask for forgiveness for all the times I have lost my temper, reacted out of anger, fear or frustration. I pray for more patience, and an ability to live in greater harmony with the nuances of the moment.

Ivor Balin Pannell 1964-2009 RIP Sweetheart…


6 Comments to “Yom Kippur, A Day of Reflection”

  1. Deborah,

    So in peace you shall go, having found grace enough to let go a bit more. The photo of Ivor and Josiah brought tears to my eyes and made me realize how much time is lost and how easily that happens. The salt and peppering on Ivor’s chin was nowhere when I last saw him, a few weeks before Josiah’s birth.

    May we both work to stay with our friendship – being blessed with shared memories and opportunities to create more.

    Let this day and all your days be filled with at least one moment of pure, unadulterated joy.

    Margie Ann

    • Dear Margie,
      How perfect to receive your response to this particular piece of writing… 🙂
      The more time goes on, the more I cherish the opportunities to connect with loved ones around all matters, happy, sad and in between. It’s life. It’s great to be able to share it.
      I send you the same wishes for joy! And I look forward to seeing you again soon…

  2. Such thoughtful words, as always, from you dear Deb — opening my heart, making me think. (That Pandora thing is just darn spooky sometimes, isn’t it?) And then I scrolled down. Did not expect to see the photo of Ivor and Josiah enlarged. Those gentle eyes staring out at me. That smile.Wishing you joy and peace and hoping that we all remain mindful that, even when we lose our tempers or react out of anger, fear or frustration, we can return to love & harmony.

  3. Shirley, thanks for kind and soulful response… you can feel it, can’t you… yes, he did have such gentle eyes, and a beautiful smile. I like to think that he gave Josiah and me the responsibility of holding that spirit and continuing to share it with the world.
    Sending much love back to you…

  4. Beautiful picture. Miss Ivor.

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