The stuff fills my head, and swirls around in there, waiting for just the exactly right moment to make its way to the forefront of my brain and pop out of my mouth at the exactly right moment-- to answer questions, solve problems, fill a vacuum of silence (no matter how brief), and announce to all the world (if by "world" you mean all those within hearing distance) of my supreme knowingness.
I know so much that, more often than I care to admit these days, there is a distinct possibility that all the facts and knowledge and stuff that fills my head skitters away like dry leaves outpacing the wind. These days, I open my mouth, knowing the answer-- it's on the tip of my tongue, it teases my senses, it's right there dammit-- and I just can't seem to access it. From fact to dry leaf to will-o'-the-wisp, in the space of a moment.
Add frustration to the growing list of what I know.
But this is Elul. I'm guessing - I know - we're talking about a different kind of knowing.
So here's the stuff I know, the Elul stuff, and the sacred task of preparing:
I know that words have power, to heal, to hurt, to destroy and create.
I know that my words have wounded people I love.
I know that kindness is a gift. So is faith, and forgiveness.
I know that I still have some twisty, dark places inside.
I know that I have some places of surprising beauty and grace as well.
I know that I never have to pick up a drink again.
I know that when I pray, I am changed.
I know that sometimes life really sucks, and bad things happen, no matter how good you are, no matter how much you pray, no matter how much you want to rail against God and fate.
I know that my faith does not guard against the bad stuff, the really, really craptastic stuff.
I know that my faith allows me the grace to put one foot in front of the other (no matter how small the step) and face what is right in front of me.
I know that that has made all the difference in my life.
I know that the longest journey I've ever had to make is the one from my head to my heart. I know that while I walk that tortuous path alone (because we all do the walking on our own)-- there are people who can shine a light, even in the darkest places. I know that there are hands to hold, even when I feel most alone.
This is what I know - the lesson of Elul - that I am blessed beyond belief, that faith and forgiveness and kindness and love can conquer the dark and guide me home.