As this time of year triggers the “remembered happiness” of holidays past, Gretchen Rubin’s quote that “the days are long but the years are short” is powerfully true. Our “experienced happiness” is often very different as we are caught in our private “Groundhog Day” with the same family struggles and disappointments over and over. Remember holiday blues is the feeling of loss you have when you can’t be with those people who matter and holiday stress is when you have to be with those people.
I’m reminded of the story of 2 children who are playing in the sandbox and they get into a fight and say “I’m never going to be your friend” they run to their mothers are comforted, then return to play - friends again. One mother says “how do they do that?” The other explains they’re more into happiness than they are into righteousness. How many times have we chosen to be “right” rather than happy? One of the best definitions I’ve heard for forgiveness is giving up our need for a happy past.
According to the Talmud, repentance was among the first things God created; even before God created the physical universe. Think about that - before the world was created God knew we would need to repent.
This year when my house fell apart I began studying Jewish mysticism and Buddhism not just to understand life but to “stand life.” I’m now grateful for my floors, ceilings, plumbing, etc. It is the little things - there are no ordinary moments. The worst thing would be to be happy and not know it.
So this year give yourself the gift of mindfulness - living each moment with awareness and without judgment . We need to learn to forgive ourselves over and over and over and over and over. God knows.