I left services the first day of Rosh Hashanah because I needed to. It was more than just the unending tears, although I will admit to a little bit of embarrassment over that - especially when the woman behind me, in her best stage whisper, said to her husband "that girl is crying, look, she's crying, why do you think she's crying?". I felt anger. I felt despair. I felt baffled. I felt sadness.
I am angry with G-d and I couldn't imagine how I could sit there and pray to him when I feel so angry. It's quite the contradiction to have faith but then feel so angry with the entity to whom you give that faith.
Now, we have to take a little detour here. Since this is a mindmapping experiment, I have to go explore Righteousness before I can come back to this theme of Prayer. I planned for it to be a separate post, but, I need to think about it here.
Righteousness. Doing the right thing. I am a very black and white person. I believe, in many situations, there is a right and there is a wrong. You can make a good choice or you can make a bad choice. Now, don't beat me up, I know there is gray area and times when the choice that you make is not definable as right or wrong. But, in many cases, to me, it is clear cut. Nobody is truly righteous, in that nobody makes the right choice all the time. But, I do strive to be a good person and to make good choices. And, making the right choice, again, by my definition, isn't always the one that makes you the happiest or is the easiest. So, given that, of course, part of me thinks that I should never have left services, or, at the very least, should have marched myself back in there because participating in the Rosh Hashanah service, even if it caused me sadness, would have been....say it with me...the right thing to do.
Now, I will fully admit that I get WAYYYY too hung up on doing the right thing sometimes. So, why wasn't I able to do it in this situation? Despite feeling incredibly guilty about leaving, why didn't I leave and not just go back in?
OK, back to Prayer. I think I now know why I couldn't go back in. My relationship with G-d is extremely important to me. If I didn't feel that way, if the prayers that I wanted to say, that I needed to say, weren't important to me, I probably could have just gone back in and sat there and gone through the motions. But, I take the services and prayers and rituals very seriously. They are meaningful and important to me. And, so, it makes sense to me that, when I am so emotionally charged with negative emotions, I would struggle to participate in these rituals of prayer that I hold so dearly.
For the record, the ritual and the prayers are very important to me and I did go to services the next day, albeit after the sermon. And, except for a couple of times when I teared up, I managed to focus on the words of the prayers and the melodies I was chanting (the musical/lyrical prayers, in particular, impact me the strongest) and not the thoughts they evoked and I felt more spiritually fulfilled then I thought I would.
Now, we'll see how Yom Kippur goes....