I just finished an essay for the prompt "End." Literally just entered the last period, formatted the text, did the spell check. Every word of it was true. Every word was insanely false, a discordant klaxon of wrongness that made my teeth and my fingers clench. I have enough tension happening these days; I really don't need another source.
Remember, this is Elul. I am sadly late with a handful of essays that no one has been begging me - or even asking me - to write. But I promised me, and I don't do that often. And during this month, this fearful and glorious and difficult month, I try to honor what I have been taught - to dive deep, to bend the light differently, to explore just who the hell I am, so that when I stand, at last, before that last gate, in that last minute, asking for forgiveness, hoping for redemption, I will stand there clean, having done the work as honestly, as thoughtfully and mindfully as I could.
So. I'm scrapping that first essay, that was true, but that rang false.
Here's the honest and true thing about End to me, during this month of Elul. Nothing ends. At least, nothing in my life does. Mainly because I won't let it.
I live in a land of never-ending forever. I don't let things end - not relationships, not friendships, not bad situations. And the good stuff - the happy, the fine, the soft and gentle and kind stuff? I cling to that with a death grip. I hold on so tightly that my nails dig into my palms a little too deep, and I break the thing I was trying to hold
Sad will never end.
Pain will never end.
Happy will never end - as long as I can control it, make it stay, make it last.
Because, when things end, when you (I) let them go, wherever it is that they go to when they do go, when you (I) let them, then all you are (I am) is alone. And that really, really never ends.
Every word here rings true. Sings it, in some minor key that is so fragile and tragic and makes my heart hurt. Every word rings true, and it is all false. Every word.
Because this is Elul, and I cannot allow myself to stop at the first turn, the first tug of resistance, to end before I really dig deep. Because the second and the third and the fifteenth - every turn after this first one has shown me that things end - marriages, friendships, happily-ever-after, and dark and stormy nights - they all end, and sometimes I'm alone, and sometimes I'm not. But even the aloneness ends.
Keep the gates open, God! Please - open the gates so that I may step through, to find You, and redemption. We say this, again and again. Keep the gates open. I forget that I have my own gates. I forget that, in my fear, in my joy, how easily I close them, lock them up tight. I close myself off to everyone and everything, and I am, indeed, alone. Perhaps physically, although, let's be honest - so what? That's just a momentary thing.
When I remember, when I choose, when I do the work, I keep my own gates thrown open, and when I do, all of my aloneness ends.