#BlogElul 5: Accept

Acceptance is an interesting concept. It looks like it might mean giving up, not striving any more, just accepting what is. But that’s not necessarily true.

For example, an empowered person accepts 100% responsibility for everything that happens in his or her life, good and bad. That doesn’t mean that the person shoulders blame for everything, including things that were outside their control. But they accept responsibility – that means the ability to respond. They see themselves as being in control of their own responses.

When you accept responsibility for your own life, you don’t waste energy looking for people to blame, and you don’t waste a lot of time being a victim. It’s OK to feel sorry for yourself for a little while, and then it is time to get up and start looking for solutions. That is a much pleasanter way to live.

Sometimes life throws terrible things at us – in the case of Rabbi Sommer, her son Sam passed away from childhood leukemia a few years ago. Many of us were with her on that terrible journey.

Some people would have shriveled up and died inside, but this indomitable woman has found the energy to take care of her other three children, her husband, her congregation and herself. While I don’t know whether she would agree with my characterisation of her as a person who accepts responsibility for what she does with her life, that is how I see her, and I am full of admiration.

Most of us never face such adversity, and we should be full of gratitude for that. I am also grateful that Rabbi Sommer and her family have shared their journey, the good and the bad, to teach the rest of us the true meaning of strength and love.

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