Letters to God – Part 18: Forgive and Forget

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Next Sunday night, Jews all over the world will begin a new year. As usual, we will get together to eat ’till we drop, and in between meals we’ll go to the synagogue and pray. But our new year is not a year of festivals – it is actually the opposite. It’s a day of remembrance. It is our yearly opportunity to ask forgiveness for all the “bad” things we have done the past year, and ask that the year that comes be blessed with all of the best. And since we tend to be pretty bad, we have a whole 10 days to repent until the Day of Atonement where our future is signed and sealed for the next year.

Yes, God, you’re going to be very busy the next 2 weeks. With so many people calling to you, both those that talk to you every day, and those that come only once or twice a year. And we all have some much to say, so much to ask for, so much we want to forgive, so much we want to forget.

Forgiveness is a complex task. To forgive you have to forget. And there are things that you simply can’t forget. Things that no matter how much you try, are embedded in your memory and won’t let go. And they come back and remind you of the past. And you can’t forgive. No matter how much you try.

Forgiveness is also bi-directional. Most conflicts are not driven by only one of the parties involved – both of them are responsible, and because of this, both of them need to ask for forgiveness. And to forget.

And God I want to forget many seconds, minutes, hours of the last year! While my friends talk about the miracles that have happened, I think to myself (and also tell them) that I would prefer not see all these miracles, not to need them. Not that I don’t thank you for them, but still… Life has changed. Not for the good, not for the bad. I simply has changed.

There are so many moments that I want to forget and I can’t. So you can see why it is so difficult for me to forgive you. For all the pain my son has suffered. For the trauma of his three sisters, after waking up one morning to find their parents gone with their brother to the hospital, returning only a few day later, only to see their brother again a month later, unable to walk or talk. For how my wife and I can’t live a minute, a second, without thinking about that night, and how it can all return back any moment. Yes, it’s hard.

Yes God, it’s hard. But I forgive you. Because I want to forget.