I am stunned by the stories of redemption I have stumbled upon in the last few weeks, as Mane and I have been reading about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur...the Jewish New Year and the Day of Cleansing. Perhaps these glimmers of redemption are always around me, but I don't notice them unless it's on my mind. I wonder how much I miss by just not paying attention and being present...how many droplets of redemption glimmer while I'm to busy trying to be perfect. Ironic, isn't it?
Mane and I embarked on a study of Jewish or Biblical Holidays as part of our homeschooling curriculum this year. My interest has been piqued by some mothers on the message board where I find some on-line support, advice & encouragement. I picked up a booked called The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays from a thrift store, and then I was ready to embark on a journey to learn about the Biblical Holidays, the holidays that God designed to fill our lives with celebration, contemplation, joy, and introspection. These are the holidays that God created to mark our calendars and walk us through the year. It seems important, as Christian people, to at least know what they're about.
In our readings about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we have encountered the Jewish idea of sin, which is simply, "missing the mark," and the idea that the New Year is a time to reflect on the things we've done right and wrong in the last year, the things we'd like to change, the things we need forgiveness for and the things we need to forgive. There is not a feeling of guilt or shame associated with this time, but a feeling of how valuable our mistakes are because they spur growth and help us seek and encounter God in our lives.
I cannot begin to tell you how fresh and beautiful this message feels. Jewish tradition is that the pieces of the stone tablets that were broken when Moses threw them down in anger were to be kept in the Ark of the Covenant because the mistake was holy, too. Can you believe it? Holy mistakes?! Mane struggles, as I do, with admitting and moving past mistakes. It's hard to be a perfectionist. Hard to be the child of a perfectionist. Hard to be the grandchild and great-grandchild of a perfectionist. It is both humbling and agonizing to see my own tendencies repeated in my child, and I am praying for freedom for both of us as we learn to re-frame mistakes as holy, as moments to learn and to encounter God.
Two friends of mine wrote beautiful blog posts this week about the redemption of their mistakes, even unintentional ones. Something Good From Something Bad is a story by a journalist-turned-full-time-mom friend of mine. Rewriting My Name is by the ever-popular Heather of the EO. ;) They have said it so well. I hardly need to restate what has already been said.