In upstate New York, leaves begin to change incredibly early. Weeks ago, we drove by a tree already beginning to display the vibrant oranges and reds of fall. Josh loves the fall: its cool breezes, the colors of nature, pumpkin lattes, and the bottle of single malt scotch I attempt to surprise him with as the temperatures drop. My reaction is somewhat different. “Shhhhh.” I tell him. “I’m not ready for summer to be over.”
In part my sentiments are family related. The summer offers me more freedom with my schedule, more time to explore through the wonder-filled eyes of my three and a half year old and almost 2 year old.
But it is also theological. I’m not ready for the start to a new year. No matter how far along I am with my sermons and High Holy Day plans, I am nowhere near ready. To misquote the name of a magnificent book by Alan Lew, “This is real and I am completely unprepared.”
The High Holy Day season is pregnant with emotions and possibilities: to forgive and be forgiven, and to find peace in a world that feels broken– this year more than most. To get in touch with myself and with God, and to let the past go. It also offers the opportunity to start again, to challenge myself to do better and to make this year the most inspired, meaningful and joyous year yet.
On the first of Elul, I can no longer ignore the slowly changing leaves. The time has come for this intensive but incredibly rewarding journey.
Fall doesn’t wait for us to be prepared. Few things in life do.
Ready or not, Elul is here. Bring it on.