September 21, 2011
The Arctic, at equinox. Satellite image from Science photo library.
This morning I forgot what day it was; I told a friend it was Tuesday, and he gently reminded me that it is Wednesday. Cue panic! I have class this afternoon, I thought that was tomorrow! The new year is one day closer than I thought! Is everything going to be done in time?
In truth, I think I'm in fine shape. My sermons are written. My machzor (high holiday prayerbook) is marked-up with notes to myself, sticky flags to remind me which prayers I'm leading and which will be led by my friend and colleague who's serving as our cantorial soloist. There's a flurry of tasks to be done at the synagogue, but I think we're mostly on top of those.
What's challenging for me is the sense that I'm juggling so many balls that I might be dropping a few and I might not even know it. There are things I've almost forgotten to do, and remembered only in the last moment; what else might I have forgotten? What am I not remembering that I'm not remembering?
Of course, the Days of Awe -- as big a deal as they are! -- also aren't the only thing happening at this moment in time. Our religious school has gotten underway, and this weekend our monthly Sunday morning programs will begin. I haven't had time yet to move my summer clothes out of my closet, but I need to; that time has come.
My parents are coming to visit in just a few days. It's apple season. I just replaced the fading summer flowers in front of our front door with a pot of deep maroon mums. A piano tuner is here, making our old upright sing again. Roofers are working on re-shingling the roof of our house, so that (God willing) by the time Sukkot rolls around, only our sukkah will be open to the rain.
And my challenge in all of this is to keep breathing. (Right here; right now.) To trust that everything will get done -- or, that if something slips through the cracks, it'll all be okay in the end. To sing Psalm 27 and remember what I'm really seeking at this season: not just efficiency and productivity, but to dwell in God's house all the days of my life.
It's the equinox today, or something very near it. The hinge-point on which the solar year turns. Midway between the year's longest day and the year's shortest day. (Here in this hemisphere, I guess that makes it the official first day of fall; for my readers in the global South, it's the first day of spring.) The earth tilts and turns as it has always done.
Seen alongside the great cycles of the cosmos, my to-do list isn't such a big deal, is it? Surely this whole glorious planet is God's house, and all I need to do in order to dwell in it is to take a deep breath and remember.