Inspired by a recent (actually, I’m a few weeks behind here) Rosh Hashanah post on a comic book blog, I did a writing exercise on the topic of repentance. This is exactly the type of thing I scoff at, until I sit down and do it. Then I’m pretty happy I did it and I feel like I learned something. So I went some place with a honest-to-god pen and notebookwhere I couldn’t be bothered and did the following writing exercise:
Imagine if you had to spend 10 days in a room confronted with all of your sins/mistakes/wrongdoings of the past year:
1. What would that room look like? How big would it be?
2. Who or what would be in this room? Would there mostly be people in that room? Actions? Thoughts? Decisions? Ideas?
3. What what you say to them/what would they say to you?
4. What would it feel like to spend 10 days in there? Could you handle it?
5. What would you do with the time that you had in there? What would you address first, last?
At the end of those 10 days, whatever you do, it’s time for you to leave that room and close the door for the next year. But don’t close it all the way. Leave it just a little bit ajar. You may have done all you can, but accept the fact that come next year, you might re-enter that room and be confronted with some of the same things. And Yom Kippur comes along, you can be the one closing the gates, writing the book. You don’t have to let God make all of the decisions, since at the end of the day, so much of it is completely in your own hands.
An hour and 6 pages later, I felt I had given more thought to the things I had done wrong in the past year than I had in the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur which is designed for this kind of reflection. I’m not saying I felt better about myself or had any new direction on life, but just that this was pretty damn therapeutic, sobering and certainly eye-opening. Try it.