I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica for the first time and it’s breaking my brain in the best way possible. I’ve been taking the utmost care not to spoil any storylines for myself (please please please do not post any spoilers for me anywhere, pleaseandthankyouiwillkillyouifyoudo), but I can’t wait to be finished with the series so I can deep dive into the treasure trove of reviews and criticisms and academic papers about the show that I know exist on this glorious world wide web. I’m currently in the middle of season 3 and have just been reading the episodic reviews written over at The Mary Sue, careful not to click through to any that I haven’t seen yet and grateful that the editors over there published the posts with closed comment sections to avoid spoilers. It’s quite the time to be watching a show that explores whether humanity deserves to survive the apocalypse, I’ll tell you what. Most episodes end with me shaking my head and thinking maybe we don’t deserve it after all.
Tonight is Kol Nidre, which is technically the holiest eve of the Jewish year. We’re supposed to have reckoned with our sins from the past year over the 10 days leading up to this evening (the time period between Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kipper, the Day of Atonement) so we can cap it off with proper atonement during our fast tomorrow. I won’t be fasting this year or going to synagogue this evening, but I was raised Jewish and I can’t shake our traditions (nor do I want to) so I’ve been, well, reckoning the past 10 days. I personally am extremely interested in the ways humans interact with one another, in the miscommunications and the hurt feelings and the unintentional pain we all cause each other just by existing. I’m also profoundly curious in why we continue to forge relationships and love and forgive in spite of these realities of being a human. It’s beautiful because it’s so unbelievable.
I don’t think it’s ever a bad thing to take stock of our actions and the ways they inadvertently and intentionally affected others in our lives and make sure we get right with the people who matter to us (and sometimes even the people who don’t). “How does the world work, is what you’re asking, I think,” Danielle said to me last summer, when I asked a series of unanswerable questions all in a row as we sped down the I-5. I’m always asking that, I think. But less, “how does the world work” and more “how do human beings work” or maybe even “why do we work” and “what happens when we don’t.” I’m reckoning with myself and my actions and my emotions right now, is what I want to tell you, because my religion dictates that I should. But I also want you to know that I’d be reckoning with myself even if my religion did not dictate it, because I think it’s important. I think it is why we are here, whether we deserve to be or not.
I’m glad Judaism gives me the reminder. I may not be going to synagogue tonight, but asking these questions is a form of prayer.