Kippur has come and gone and I am left with a feeling of joy and deep gratitude. Much prayer and petitions for help from Above enabled me to exchange my fear of not even being able to get through the fast (Tisha B'Av kicked my butt with a blazing headache by evening you would not believe) to sincere thanks that I made it and even experienced Joy in the Journey. I did not get hungry and I did not suffer the ever feared caffeine headache. Prior to the fast I did have a bad attitude. No, that's not entirely accurate because I knew I wanted to fast. I had been working on myself and I wanted very much to be there for the Kol Nidre and Neilah services. My stress level though felt like it was through the roof and it left me ultimately feeling quite unprepared to come before the King. Also I was struggling with a few of the pre Kippur traditions and these feelings were irking me. (Truth is, if someone wants to wave a chicken (or even money) over their head, more power to them, just don't go around feeling all smug and superior when someone else doesn't do it or even agree with it.)
After all this tremendous soul searching and mind wrestling/metal gymnastics, I finally came to the simplicity of it all. Elokai, neshama sh'natta be, tehora (My G-d the soul you have placed in my is Pure.) I remembered that I am ultimately a neshama, a soul ,a pure soul, and I came before the King as a pure soul/child. That is how I explained it to my preschool children. Kippur is the day where we do not focus on caring for our bodies, we focus only on our souls. That helped me so much. I had no fear as I have had in past years. I did not fear an unfavorable judgement nor did I fear my prayers would not be heard. I had absolute trust in that moment in time that Avinu, Malkeinu, (Our Father, Our King) would hear every word and would judge me favorably. I felt absolute love and peace in my Father's favor. I did not feel an obligation to do anything except fast and be. I meditated on atonement, At-One-Ment, and kept the holiness of the day foremost in my mind. I kept my thoughts, attitude and the words of my mouth in that Holy place and was blessed with a honestly meaningful and beautiful day.
I am now looking forward to Sukkot, the Festival of the Ingathering. I have a lovely sukkah up just waiting for schach and to be decorated and will hopefully do that tomorrow as long as my mommy and baby that were due on Yom Kippur don't arrive before then...but then that's another story.