Teshuvah… is translated from the Hebrew as repentance, but it literally means return, as if turning back to something you’ve strayed or looked away from. — Yehudah Mirsky, Professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
The rabbi told me about teshuvah:
It’s what I should have done when I smashed
Sister Veronica’s flash cards into their box in first grade
but didn’t own up to the deed.
It’s how I could have walked to the confessional in fifth grade
with my little sins.
It’s not scratching out Dad’s scrawled words
in my First Communion prayerbook.
It’s asking him to play catch at least once.
It’s giving him a hug
instead of letting him shake my hand.
It’s a walk across the dance floor.
to ask her to dance and not worry about my feet.
It’s asking the blonde who lived across the street for a date
even though I was going to the seminary.
It’s what might happen if I listened to Robert’s politics
about how Trump would fix things.
It’s the courage to walk alone the streets of Florence
and find Giotto’s parking lot.
It’s answering the letters she wrote from Argentina
before the cancer took her.
It’s the years lost between me and the artist
and each time we reunite.
It’s what lies beyond passion in relationship.
It’s after the monkey-mind’s agenda
stops scrolling through my brain.
It’s the call of blue through the chapel window.
It’s the voice without words come with breath.