Holidays have the tendency to creep up on me. It seems like just yesterday I was months away from September, yet here I am again, writing and rewriting menus and shopping lists, trying to cook ahead and cram yet more food into my modest freezer. And with all the emphasis on feeding my family plus numerous guests for six (count them-six!) large meals combined with the hustle of going back to school, I have given the spiritual nature of Rosh Hashana very little thought. That is not completely true- I have given some thought to the fact that I have not really had time to give it any serious thought. Got that?
Upon further reflection, it is not really accurate to say I don't have the time. I somehow find the time to blog, knit, or read a magazine when I want to. Sure, I am busy during the day, but come 7 pm when the kiddos (usually) go to sleep, I have time to focus on other things. Sometimes these things are laundry and dishes, sometimes they are blogger and facebook, but very rarely do I sit down with a religious text, or even just my journal to think about where I am in life and where I want to be. And the truth is I should do it more often. At night, I am often drawn to things that are in the "relaxing" category. I just want to veg (spelling?), not challenge myself further.
I find that learning and spiritual growth are like exercise. We are not motivated to get started and try to procrastinate and do "anything but." Once we do make the move, though, we feel so much better and the success we find will often motivate us to keep it going. All it takes is that first step.
And G'd has a way of reminding us of that at least once a year. On Rosh Hashana, He (metaphorically) knocks on our door and says "Hey, remember me? What have you been up to this past year? Anything worthwhile?"
Hopefully we have more to say for ourselves than shopping and Starbucks. The truth is that we all do much more than that. We care for our children, our spouses, our parents, our friends. We try to be respectful and courteous to others and many of us give charity, to just name a few quick ones. The goal is, however, to always be striving for more. And my personal goal over the next few days is to try to define what that "more" is going to look like for myself this coming year. No foolish New Year's Resolutions, but a real commitment to challenge myself beyond my comfort zone and try to create real change and growth in certain realms. Ideally, the satisfaction of those achievements will motivate me to keep going, the meta-physical equivalent of the endorphins of exercise. But it all comes down to my initial premise- I still need to be the one to start...wishing us all the ability to truly evaluate ourselves this Rosh Hashana and find ways to keep moving forward and do just a little bit more.