Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Jewels of Elul - Difficult Parents

We are in the middle of the month of Elul, the month on the Jewish calendar during which we prepare for the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).  Preparation takes many forms, including study and self-reflection.  Craig Taubamn put together a program called Jewels for Elul.  Each day of Elul he shares the words of a scholar, teacher, leader or person in the public eye.  The snippets cover many topics. 

Ever since I read Sunday's words by the journalist David Gregory, I have found myself returning to his words about forgiveness and difficult parents.  This can be a hard time of year to deal with abusive parents.  Judaism teaches that we do not have to forgive them for the abuse - especially if they don't ask us for forgiveness.  (In Judaism one is not forgiven by G-d for a sin against another person until one has asked that person for forgiveness.)  The relationship I have with my parents continues to change - - sometimes in a good place and often not.  Yet, I know that I must continue to come to terms with the abuse of my childhood in order to continue to heal.  This does not mean forgiving the abuse.  It means doing what I can to live as a survivor & thriver. 

David Gregory connects forgiveness with being good to others. 
"As Jews, we are obligated to honor our parents in the way we honor God. The idea reflects a simple truth: without them, we wouldn’t be here.
Such an obligation, however, is not always easily met.
I have struggled with my parents as I make sense of my childhood and what I think could have and should have been different.
At times, my relationship with them has been badly strained.
What has brought me back is my commitment to what God expects of me and what it takes to become a giving person...."
Read his entire statement at Jewels of Elul, go to 17 Elul, "The Gateway to Love."


Marj aka Thriver said...

This is a succint and eloquent post for anyone, no matter what religion the reader is. Thanks for sharing this.

Al said...


Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Gretchen Paules and I am the Administrative Director for a newly formed nonprofit called the Let Go...Let Peace Come In Foundation. Our mission at LGLPCI is to help heal and support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse worldwide. We are actively seeking adult survivors who would be willing to post their childhood photo & caption, their story, or their creative expressions to our website www.letgoletpeacecomein.org. By uniting survivors from around the globe we hope to provide a stronger and more powerful voice to those survivors who have not yet found the courage to speak out or have been cast aside with disbelief.

I am writing to you today to ask you to please consider posting to our website. It is through the support of courageous survivors like you that we will succeed in our effort to help one survivor at a time. If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me directly at this e-mail address. Together we can; together we should; together we NEED to stand up and be counted.

Warmest Regards,
Gretchen Paules
Administrative Director
Let Go...Let Peace Come In Foundation
111 Presidential Blvd., Suite 212
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004