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​Spiritual Friday: Forgiveness

We had an exceptionally beautiful Spiritual Friday; it usually is when the patients lead. I was so touched to hear that when the patients arrived early to set up the room, they gathered in a circle and prayed first. Such loving service with no ego; it was just beautiful.

I had asked one of our devout Jewish patients to lead the group and come together with a topic appropriate in honoring the beautiful spiritual principles of the “High Holy Days” of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Our group chose forgiveness.

We have so many talented patients. Two of our male patients wrote original music, played, and sang; their songs included “You’ve Got My Attention” and an untitled one about how it’s not easy being an angel.

Each of our 10 patient leaders brought something unique and meaningful. Below are the four videos that were presented:

You will love this meditation; give yourself the gift of this today.

One of the patients recited “If” by Rudyard Kipling:

“If you can dream and not make dreams your master;
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters the same,
…you’ll be a man my son.”

Another patient shared a beautiful reading by Vicki Zinn:

“I do not want to be remembered
as a woman who was always in pain.
I want my self-description to be of
a woman, who despite her
many adversities, found her
sense of being, as an example to others.
Life is exactly what we make of it.
If I continue to allow myself to
wallow in these fears,
then I have truly succumbed to
own my demise.

…I must learn to recognize
that I am human, and that
I will make mistakes.
How I learn from these mistakes
is what separates me from another -
it is what defines my uniqueness.
Regardless of the loneliness
that surrounds me constantly,
I must remember that I am
needed, and wanted, by others.

The only way to do this
is to try to forgive myself,
while realizing,
that those who also recognize
my true beauty are the ones
that deserve to be part of my life.”

So lovely.

Another patient shared a perfect song called “Keep Climbing” by Avraham Fried: “Keep climbing… keep fighting… keep believing… up is where you belong… make sure you take one step at a time…”

Rabbi Mark blew Shofar (ram’s horn) and spoke about it’s meaning and the different sounds and various notes.”Tekiah – Hear the call of the community; Shevarim – Harken to the pain of the world; Teruah – Move in a direction of meaning and knowledge.”

From the patients:

  • “Forgiveness is a lot for you rather than the other person. When I forgive it is a weight off my shoulders.”
  • “I need to prove my worthiness to be forgiven.”
  • “I asked someone to forgive me and the person was not willing. It was a lesson for me that I have to do my part and ask, but it doesn’t mean the other person must forgive me.”

The group ended with a beautiful ritual using Flying Prayer Paper. A small paper is lit as the prayer is said out loud and the paper literally “lifts up” and turns into a piece of ash which floats down as the patient gently holds their hand out to catch it. This ritual simply feels so holy when done with sincere offering. There was so much sincerity this past Friday:

  • “I release the guilt I feel about my children.”
  • “I release the resentment I have towards my children’s father.”
  • “I release the people who have not been positive influences in my life.”
  • “I release the pain caused by my family.”
  • “I release the fear of the future.”


The patients gave us all such a gift and took such care and pride in their offering. I am deeply honored to be serving them.

Much love.

Reverend Laurie Durgan