An Easy Fast Doesn’t Provide Atonement

This happens to me…Every Year. In the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur I become more restless and unsettled.

Every year I write posts about this and share thoughts about religion, casting away sins and self love.

There are levels of intolerance discussed within these pages. As a father I think about what sort of obligation I have towards my children and I ask myself if I am hitting the mark.

The Truck Driver

My son walks into my office today and tells me about how this truck driver intentionally blocked an aisle in the parking lot today and forced cars to drive the wrong way.

“Dad, he told mom and I to use common sense and go the other way.”

I asked him if the man was rude or polite. He says the guy was obnoxious.

“Dad, because he wouldn’t move mom and all these other cars had to drive the wrong way, we almost had an accident.”

His story sets me off and I ask for a description of the man. My son wants to know if he can go along for the ride and I say no. “Dad, I want to see what happens.”

I tell him not to worry and that I am going to take care of this. He looks at me and asks why I look so angry and I tell him that it the driver’s behavior is unacceptable and I am going to fix things.

As I walk out the door I hear multiple voices asking me to remain calm.I turn, smile and say don’t worry.

Five minutes later I reach the shopping center and the truck is still parked there. It is blocking an entire aisle so I am confident all I need to do is find the driver.

The Truck Driver

I see a man pushing a hand truck towards the juice store and I am certain he is the driver. I park my car, take pictures of the truck and head over to the store.

There is a juice store employee standing outside. I ask him if they normally receive deliveries at 4:15 and he says no. This one was supposed to be there at 7 Am.

“Why didn’t you tell him to move his truck to the far side of the lot so that he wouldn’t cause a traffic jam in the lot?” There is silence and then the employee shrugs his shoulders at me.

I explain why I am angry and mention that this store put my family at risk. It doesn’t matter who was driving. He is part of the problem. He says he is sorry and offers me a smoothie. I say no and then the driver reappears in front.”

“Did you tell a woman and a boy to use common sense?”

There is a hard edge in my voice and I feel my hands flexing. He tells me that he said use common sense but claims he was talking to himself.

“So you ignored your own advice, chose to block traffic and then almost created a six or seven car pile up.”

He takes a step backwards and apologizes, but I am not pacified.

“I am not a woman. I am not a 12 year-old boy. Tell me to use common sense. Ignore me. It is what you did before. Pretend your work is more important than the safety of others. Pretend that I am not the very angry father of the family you put at risk!”

I know I am on the verge of shouting. If he doesn’t apologize I am going to make the kind of scene he doesn’t want. But he does apologize again. He tells me the other driver was sick and that he is sorry.

“You should be thankful I wasn’t hear to see you put lives at risk. You should be thankful I am not any more upset than I am, but we aren’t through. I will submit a complaint. That is not me wagging my tongue. That is a promise.  Next time show some consideration for others.

Atonement

Night falls and I think about what happened. I don’t feel badly about what I said or that I filed a complaint. Safety comes first and there is no excuse for his parking his truck that way. I am certain he tried to take advantage of being a man who was faced with some children and angry moms.

Yet I can’t help but think of my own mistakes. I am not perfect. There are lots of things you can rap my knuckles for.

It won’t be long before Yom Kippur officially starts and my fast begins. It won’t be long before I have ample time to focus my attention again inwards and ask all the hard questions.

I read Torah every Yom Kippur for a little more than 25 years, but I haven’t read the last two and I miss it. Can’t decide why I miss it, but I know that I do. Not sure that it is important.

My gut tells me that the past several years have lead to this point and that we are on the verge of something really big. Good things are coming, or so I think. And so I take a moment to listen to the words of the songs below and to think.

Some words continue to remain unread.

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  • http://EditorEtc.me Bev Wieber

    Going backward to read your past writings, Jack. The more I read, the more you make me think (and the more alike we think, you and I).
    Take this post: even though I’m not technically Jewish, I love my Jewish roots as a “Christian.” I cherish & honor the Jewish holidays & the Torah. I too get the same feelings before each one. Good enough? Done enough? It’s a good thing that we reflect on our best & worst attempts at life. It means we aren’t done yet.
    Here’s to more backward reading!

    • http://www.thejackb.com/ Jack

      Hi Bev,

      Great minds think alike. :)

  • http://tim-bonner.com Tim Bonner

    Hey Jack

    I find myself in situations like this sometimes and I feel my blood boil.

    It takes all my willpower not to let it escalate. Sometimes I feel a little petty for taking a stance while others probably wouldn’t bother. Surely by not bothering though it will just carry on happening.

    Good for you for complaining is what I say!

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Tim,

      There are those crazy moments that come up in all of our lives. I try to pick and choose my battles because they aren’t all worth fighting, but sometimes you have to take a stand because nothing changes if you don’t.

  • http://mothereseblog.com/ Kristen

    Your post made me think about how we behave depending on the audience. Clearly, this driver spoke to your wife and son in a way he wouldn’t have spoken to you. I’ve been on the bad end of this myself, though I’ve often benefited too, I think, from being a woman with young kids.

    Near our house is a street where drivers tend to go too fast. A friend of mine who lives there recently put up a sign on her lawn that says, “Drive like it’s your kids who live here.” Not a bad mantra if we extrapolate it to the group: Treat me the way you would if I were someone you cared about. Can’t imagine that a lot of good wouldn’t come from that.

    I hope you are having an easy fast.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Kristen,

      Yeah, I think many of us are guilty of adjusting our behavior based upon who we are with and not always in a good way,

      That driver really set me off. I understand having a bad day and I am guilty of having said exactly what I think about people. However I like to think that I wouldn’t try to pretend that someone else was at fault for having almost caused harm to others because of my own stupidity.

      I like your friend’s sign. It is a good reminder.

      The fast was long, but that is how it goes sometimes.

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

    Monkeys need to be hit upside the head with a cast iron skillet – every so often. Myself included.

    Next time, hammer the point home. [grin] Because I’m counting on you.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Stan,

      We are all pulling together. One mighty swing and BAM! Clarity comes right after, or so we hope.

  • http://weforgotyounot.wordpress.com Betsy Cross

    I hear and understand the predicament: showing up, doing what’s right, and helping others see the need to be aware of how our actions influence each other while we are ever aware that our words have to reflect our love and respect for all-their frame of mind due to unseen circumstances, should always be in the back of our minds and cause us to show compassion in every situation, even the ones that require personal interactions with the “offender”.
    My goal is to slow down long enough to give me time to reflect on the possible reasons for someone’s seemingly careless and thoughtless actions, and to act and speak what’s necessary with compassion.
    P.S. I’m going to have to write a new post so that the link is no longer this one! LOL! Someday!

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Betsy,

      You have a monster post just waiting to come out. I feel it, just sitting there. It is all a question of when you are ready to share it.

      Slowing down is such an important thing. I checked out for a solid day and it was great and by checking out I mean I didn’t visit the blogosphere.

      Spent more time with my kids and just enjoyed the moment.

  • http://julielangdonbarrett.com Julie

    What’s fascinating to me is “inscribed and sealed.” I get chills every time. I missed out on religious school so it’s all on the periphery for me. But did you know that The Book Of Life turns out to be The Akashic Records. That is what we see when we are permitted to do readings for other people. So it turns out in a backwards way I became part of it after all.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Julie,

      Inscribed and sealed is write. ;) I hadn’t heard that about the Book of Life, but I can see the connection there.

      We’re all a part of it in one way or another, sort of depends on where we hit I suppose.

  • http://www.vidyasury.com Vidya Sury

    Hugs, Jack. I know how you feel. *just holding your hand*

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Vidya,

      Thank you, I appreciate that. Hugs right back atcha.