I have to say, I got the list early. At least a month ago. More than enough time to write a few essays, draft a poem or two. More than enough time to, you know, prepare.
Don't get me wrong - I've written some in my head. I would love to say, I've really thought about a few, laid out some mental framework for a bunch. I'd love to, but it's really kinda snarky to lie now, of all times, it being Elul and all. I've thought about this essay, this prompt, none of the others.
At first, all I could think of was Boy Scouts. Obviously, I've never been one. I was a Brownie for a bit of a year, until my mother backed out of being co-leader when she realized that volunteering meant more than offer and want, that showing up was a part of it. I may have no idea what the Brownie or Girl Scott (or Campfire Girls or even Indian Princesses) motto might be, but I know the one for the Boy Scouts: Be Prepared.
Interesting that it's in the passive voice. While I'm sure the message of the motto is fraught with activity, on its face, it is, nevertheless, passive, to be acted upon rather than to be a mover of worlds.
From there, I skipped easily over to Godspell. Of course I skipped there. I can't not hear those opening notes, so pure and unadorned - "Prepare ye, the way of the Lord..." Yes, yes: I know. It is, perhaps, slightly odd to reference that particular musical in this particular context, but it is, to me, perfectly in tune with Elul. Get ready, says the song, there's a God thing about to happen! There is so much quiet joy in this song, that starts with a single voice and build and grows to many. Let's all get get ready, get moving, get mindful, because the time is now, today and then the car broke. Again. And the car needed to be towed. Again. And I had to get the loaner. And then groceries and dishes and sweeping and mopping and I had a date.and the cat needed to play, every time my fingers hit the keyboard and the boy, my beloved boy, he needed dinner and attention and time. And there was something skittering around in my head, about packing and getting ready for a trip and how that was less preparation and more taking a little bit of everything I own, just in case, and there are a few people I need to get back to dammit I forgot to pick up the prescription and
Who the hell has time to prepare?
And so I'm late. As usual. All the prep time in the world, and I come in late. Unfinished, or just barely not. A thousand thoughts swirling in my head, some of them even about Elul and Prepare and this blessed need to stop and breathe and dive in, headlong, prepared or not.
And that's it, really: ready or not, prepared or just barely, this is it. Even in those rare moments when I feel totally prepared, life can so throw me for a loop and send me spinning. This is the prep work, this month, this mindful time, being in it, living and diving and bending the light just so, allowing me to examine the year I have lived, and how I showed up for it (or didn't).
Stop. Breathe. Dive.
Rosh Chodesh Elul sameach.
(grateful for a two day rosh chodesh)
(and now onto Day Two: Act)
- I write, mostly to keep my head from exploding. It threatens to do that a lot. My blog is the pixelated version of all the voices in my head. I tend to dive into what connects me to God, my community, my family and my doubt. I do a lot of searching, not as much finding. I’m good with that. I have learned, finally, to live comfortably in the gray. In the meantime, I wrestle with God, and my doubt and my joy.