Today, we – I – turn inward to examine a different type of sin: sins committed against ourselves. Have we taken care of our bodies? Have we taken time to rest? Have we allowed ourselves time for friends and for connecting with God? Have we allowed ourselves to enjoy life? Or have we spent all our time working and running, never stopping to allow our soul to express itself or to even be acknowledged?
I had this “missed target” shown to me today when I went for my annual gynecological visit, which is kind of like my yearly physical. The doctor asked me about my rising blood pressure. “What’s with that? Where’s your stress coming from?” she asked.
The answer was the same as last year. “Work. Running kids around. Finances. Not enough time to fit everything in. No time for me.”
She suggested I go for a massage on a regular basis, exercise consistently and go to the acupuncturist. This would help lower my blood pressure and reduce my migraine headaches, she told me, as if I didn’t already know these remedies. Her advice made my heart race and my blood pressure rise. “When do I have time for a two hour massage? My blood pressure would just go while I lay there on the table thinking about all the things I should be doing and the work piling up,” I said.
She smiled demurely and said, “I know you’ll do the right thing to take care of yourself.”
In fact, when we sin against ourselves, we also sin against God. We aren’t caring for the part of ourselves connect to God and created in God’s image: our soul. We aren’t seeing ourselves as divine or treating ourselves as such. With such lack of respect, we sin in a big way. In the process, we sin against God, too, with an act of disrespect and ungratefulness for all that we have been given – a piece of Godliness that dwells within our physical body.
So, today, on the second day of the Days of Awe, I suggest we all ask ourselves how we have sinned against ourselves this past year. Then consider how to rectify those actions. How will we each set better targets this year for self care and how will we hit them.
I’ll be on the phone with the acupuncturist. I’m not sure I can deal with those two-hour massages., but I’ll be sure to exercise at least a few times a week as well. I have a few other self-care items on my list (more reading, adult ed, time with friends), but I have to figure out how to fit them into my schedule without creating more stress. I’ll set them up as targets, and I’ll try to hit them. I’ll begin with one target at a time, taking shooting practice in small time increments for each.
How about you?
Of course, not only do we need to look at our past actions and create new habits for the new year, we also need to forgive ourselves. We need to stop beating ourselves up for not taking better care of ourselves – and our souls. (We need to ask God to forgive us for the latter, but that’s tomorrow’s work…)