September 29th, 2009
Yesterday at the Yom Kippur service, the rabbi informed the famished congregation that the word “sin” isn’t as cryptic as we generally interpret it to be. It translates to Hamartia, a Classical Greek term that means "to miss the mark" or "to miss the target”. Oh you Greeks and your tragedy. I have to admit that your literature ‘s staple is consistent with having our hero take actions that generally involve some significant errors in judgment. Yeah, i’m talking to you Oedipus. But this confused boy’s actions weren’t inherently evil. Although, the ultimate mama’s boy scandal would have made for a gripping and highly rated Oprah episode.
I’m not suggesting that we strive to make unwitting mistakes but good parenting 101 tells our children that it is that very thing that we grow from. This is good news for Dick Cheney when he shot Harry Whittington, the 78-year-old Texas attorney, while participating in a quail hunt. On the topic of “gunning”, one of the only times I consistently made the target was 25 years ago in the skeet shooting competition on the Commodore 64 Summer Olympics Games. I have to admit, I was a bit of a savant. If only life was an outdated 8-bit home computer.
If we’re consistently hitting the mark every time it seems that we’re blessed with a certain amount of luck and will eventually suffer some hard to process disappointments when life serves up some reality. Perfectionists scare me. The twist seems to be that expecting nothing less than perfectionism every time is, in itself, missing the mark. Perhaps if we were gentler with ourselves we could look at our mistakes through a kinder filter. I know that I could benefit through the practice of self forgiveness. I will go as far as to say that most of us would never talk to anyone the way we can talk to ourselves.
If we are certain that we’re always going to make our target, then we’re not participating in situations and endeavors that stretch us, force us to step out of our comfort zones and ultimately result with experiencing growth.
Yesterday, I went ahead and pre-atoned for next year's sins because I’m certain there will be some really good ones.