Repentance

I do not ask for forgiveness. I never have. I will not repent for what I did not do. Think me arrogant.

I only ask for acceptance, which somehow I do not get.

Why must I beg for it, and then supplicate?

Should I ask a nameless god to forgive me for loving my children, who do not care what I have sacrificed?

Must I ask to be forgiven for gestures I made reaching out to others who turned away?

My husband died a long ugly death. Should I ask for forgiveness? Was it my doing??? Some cause me to feel… not their loss…they think themselves lucky… it did not touch them yet. Death of a loved one.

I am a good person; honest to a fault. Do I ask slichot for those honest statements I make that push others away?

No, I do not repent. I am angry on Yom Kippur. I am angry at this custom of begging forgiveness when I have nothing to repent.

I am alone. Alone and angry at the empty promises that others have made to me to help as they then disappear.

Or perhaps my family, which disregards the depth of my loneliness and wants me gone from their circle.

I cannot ask forgiveness for being kind and giving and raising children who abuse me with words and do not understand or want to give back.

Where is repentance when I live by a rule of integrity that distresses others?

I watched my grandmother beat her breast during slichot. I could not understand even then, as a child, why she would do that. She prayed all the time. She prayed, but for what??

I am not a supplicant. I am no better or worse than another. But I will not, cannot beg forgiveness for sins against others or against a god who is not there for me.

I suffer. I suffer from depression. I suffer from loneliness. I suffer from being misunderstood. I suffer from the turned-away faces who promise me something, and then simply forget their empty words

I suffer from a religion that is not accepting. I suffer from a day in the year when all is forgiven and the liars and cheats and betrayers of flesh and blood turn away from me.

And I do not forgive them.

The men who turned away because I was burdened and honest. Those who wanted easy when easy is too hard.

You think me a deviant, that I despise this time of the year. I have no one to lean on and no one to cry to. I have no family left, that I raised with nothing spared. I gave and gave and now I am empty. Those who loved me unconditionally, gone. I thank God for their existence.

No, I will not beat my breast and beg for forgiveness. The hypocrites can do this with pleasure. Not this solitary woman. Go swing your chicken and kill it. An ugly act of passing your sins to another

This woman, the one who speaks now in anger, will not repent.

Sandy Steuer Cohen
Teaneck