This is a bit awkward, since we haven’t really spoken in about 30 years. My bad. It just didn’t feel right to beckon you on high when I fell ill even though we hadn’t talked in years. But I’ve decided maybe it’s time. We’re coming up to that time of year, the days between Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) when Jews are introspective, make amends to those we’ve wronged, and atone for our sins. Putting you at the top of my list is long overdue.
I’m sorry for being such a bad Jew, among other things, for so many years. My faith got lost somewhere along the way. You probably don’t even remember that at one point I had thoughts of becoming a rabbi. Despite my pious adolescence, I’ve fallen far from religion since.
You don’t owe me anything as such a disloyal devotee, but I wondered if you’d consider a proposition. I think you understood when I had to give up fasting on Yom Kippur. When I first got sick, fasting became very difficult for me, and I know you allow for medical concessions. Plus, I kind of felt like I’d done my share of suffering with my various ailments. I’d hope we could call that one a draw.
But I’d be glad to give up bacon now–it’s not like it touches my lips all that often because of the sodium thing, but occasionally I indulge–if you’d consider a trade. I’ve accepted the polycythemia, the blood clot, even the leukemia with fairly good humour, I think. I don’t for a minute believe you threw all this stuff at me because you deemed me strong enough to handle it. We both know I’m a wuss. I don’t resent you for it, though; I know you probably need to meet an annual quota of sick people, and I have been a willing recipient.
I just wondered whether, in return, you could give me a break on all those minor health inconveniences that are getting in the way of my being active. The hematoma, the gout, whatever else has affected my mobility and physical comfort in recent months. I really miss yoga in particular. I’m happier when I can do yoga, and my body feels better too. Just ask J., who, despite her tremendous patience, is sick of my watching Food Network from the couch.
If you’re going to punish me in any other way, perhaps you could stick to those things that will still allow me to continue to move freely. The odd cold or flu if you have to, or perhaps a sleepless night or two. (I’d be glad to forego those too, to be honest, since I don’t think people with cancer should have to endure those little annoyances. Haven’t we suffered enough? Sure, maybe it’s not 40 days in the desert, but still….)
If foregoing bacon isn’t enough, I’ll understand; chocolate would be a lot harder for any Jew I know to give up. Feel free to come up with some other compensation. I’ll start going to synagogue again if you need me to, although I can’t promise I’ll pay attention to the sermon, especially if the rabbi is long winded. I’ll stay in closer touch with you if that would help. Just let me off the couch, please.
With newfound devotion,
*Apologies to Judy Blume.