It was about two weeks ago when I realized that I had a problem. Somebody mentioned that they would contact me in the fall about a matter we had discussed. My first thought was, “It’s almost fall, isn’t it?” With the High Holy Days coming so early on the Gregorian calendar this year, I feel as if I spent my June enjoying summer and my July in the mind set that summer was already over. I needed to finish my sermons (not quite accomplished yet), prepare my teachings (still have to work on those), learn the Torah reading (I have to stop naming things I need to do since I am getting more anxious with each stroke of the keybroard) and so on and so on. I had an epiphany in that moment: It may still be July, but, in my head, I have skipped forward an entire month by dwelling, thinking, and obsessing about the High Holy Days.
And so, as the new month begins next week, I have decided to observe Elul in a slightly different way this year. The month of Elul, of course, is a time of preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. With a blast of the shofar each morning, we are reminded how close we are to those 10 Days of Repentance. For me, during this month in this year, I do not need any cues to prompt me in what is coming. I am more than fully aware. Instead, I need to be reminded that each day is significant in its own right. Elul is not just a direct course leading to the finish line, but a time to reconnect with God, with others and with ourselves. Each day provides this opportunity. Each day matters.
So, hold on for a second, September. Wait your turn, Tishrei. I will be busy living and loving Elul.