I talked the other day about the Unetanah Tokef, the prayer that talks about G-d writing into the Book of Life who shall live and who shall die, who shall be sick and who shall be healthy, who shall be rich and who shall be poor, etc.... I didn't mention how that prayer ends.
But Repentance, Prayer, and Righteousness Avert the Severe Decree
In other words, by asking for forgiveness for your sins, praying to be a better person, and doing good things you can hope that G-d will look on you more favorably when deciding your fate for the next year.
As I thought about why this year was so much more difficult than previous years, this phrase kept going over and over in my head. (You can see where this is going, can't you?)
Repentance. In order to repent, I needed to reflect on my year and think about those things I needed to repent for. This thought process led me down a path of wondering if I've recognized those things that I should be grateful for. Let's see - my mother got a new kidney - that's a big one! Yes, Glenn had a heart attack, but, he's still here with me, doing OK. I had some health scares but, sure enough, they turned out to be OK and I'm fine. I lost my grandmother, but, we had her for a long time and now she's out of pain and with my grandfather. And all the regular ones - I have people who love me, I'm financially stable, etc....
I really do recognize them and I'm thankful for them. I'm in a place, however, where it's really hard to think about those good things and the bad things that have happened since last Rosh Hashanah, and hope for next year to be a better year. But, like I said the other day, things will be different come this time next year. And, despite what I just said, I do really hope that we will fall on the better side.