Today falls in the midst of the Days of Awe: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Days of Repentance that bridge them. It is a chance to make things right with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. A call to reset relationships. You can hold yourself accountable for hurting others. You can stop judging. You can make amends. You can apologize.
One of my favorite prayers is Ashamnu, an alphabetical acrostic (I love alphabetized lists). Ashmnu indexes the ways we hurt others. We own those actions as a community. By tradition, we beat our fists against our chests as we name each hurtful behavior. A few years ago, I learned that we can also cradle our hearts, with an open hand, forgiving others and ourselves.
I can use that cradle right now. I’ve never had more responsibility at work or more stressful family needs. I’ve also never felt better equipped to handle it. Whether we get more than we can handle is a question for the seminarians. And for the billions of people with stressors greater than mine.
For now, during these ten days, I’m seeking forgiveness and trying to forgive myself and everyone else. We all benefit from fresh starts.
Welcome to September 2022’s Disappearing Moment, an inventory of my experiences. I hope you enjoy it.
I’ll never rely on Google again: Google doesn’t care about you. For email, I’ve been happy with Fastmail for eight years and counting.
For ten years, my daily work shoe has been Dr. Martens vegan Felix Rub Offs. Two cons: the two-week break-in, and you can’t resole them.
I had significant, periodic back issues for several years. At times, it was overwhelming. My muscles would tighten, contorting my ribs, hips, and shoulders.
I had several x-rays and two MRIs. I saw a spine specialist. I was fortunate: Dr. Jay Zampini prefers discussion to surgery. What he wanted was evidence, both from the tests and from me. He had me keep a journal. I documented what preceded severe pain. How long it lasted. What may have helped. That journal is the basis for the list below.
Dr. Zampini warned me that relief might be an illusion. Sometimes people have a long period of pain followed by a decade without pain as the spine stiffens. If he’s right, I’m in year seven of that decade. I have no idea what happens next. Even without that warning, this wouldn’t be medical advice.
Thanks for spending a few moments with me. I look forward to corresponding again next month.