The religious ritual of two goats had been part of the Jewish tradition for centuries.
Two goats, similar in age and appearance, were brought before the High Priest to observe the service of Yom Kippur. Lots were drawn. One goat was chosen to become the sacrifice to the Lord, the other bore the burden of the confessed sins of a repentant nation and was driven out to the desert to die.
This is not a slight on the nobility of sacrifice, it is simply a time to identify our own scapegoat.
We are full of stories; scripts that we have written about us or were written exclusively for us.
The stories we tell ourselves often define us, limit us, and in a strange way, comfort us. We love to feel small. We love to walk back and forth in our own cozy little square of space, avoiding the perils and dangers of living purposefully magnificent lives. As much as we all hunger for a deeper meaning, we are often content to just stay still and cast our burden on our very own scapegoat.
We sit back and set our dreams and desires into the desert to die. This way we can be safe, and enjoy the comfort and bleating of each other’s company.
Why not decide today to be the other goat?
Why not sacrifice our lives and offer it for others? Be fools. Be peculiar. Be resurrected.
We tell ourselves that we cannot pursue our dreams because we don’t have enough education or money. We are not worthy of love because of our failed relationships. We cannot become great cooks or scientists, because, once, in junior kindergarten, we burned a piece of toast, and our mother scolded us for it.
We cannot dance because people are watching. We cannot write because we have nothing valuable to share, and after all, it has all be said before anyway.
We are too slow. Too fast. Too lazy. Too much of a perfectionist.
Just listen to ourselves when we don’t measure up: I am only human.
When did being a human being become a state of wretchedness? When did we become a nauseating and repulsive beast? A thing really. Something that will never amount to much, so we should even bother trying.
I’m only human.
We should accept the fact and realize that there are indeed two goats. It is easy and comforting to heap our troubles on ourselves and most often others and send our scapegoat off to die for us. It is excruciatingly more difficult to sacrifice your time and energy and take up residence in the unknown unrealized possibility. This strange and unfamiliar territory frightens and cripples our life.
There are two goats.
Don’t send your hopes and dreams into the desert.
Learn to sacrifice.