The ARC will come by next week, to collect donation bags filled with stuff I no longer use.
I've managed to trade off a lot of old musical gear for a really decent new vocal mic I badly needed.
I am making good headway on re-organizing and completely taking over the back room in our little house so I can turn it into my home office and studio.
On the other hand, it's hard, sometimes very hard, to make emotional things disappear.
What it is about certain life events whose memory stays with us long after the initial impact is felt?
Why does the sting of regret still hurt now and then from mistakes I made in the past and have worked so hard to make amends for?
What is it about the fallout from a painful episode, one that forced me to change careers far more suddenly than I would have liked to at the time, that the sense of betrayal and loss still linger?
We're all human.
We all make mistakes, sometimes unwittingly, sometimes on purpose.
Everything we experience, I have come to believe, is tattooed on the walls of our souls. We carry the lessons within us like a hard-drive that can't be completely erased. Shadows of the binary code and pixels remain, even after we drag the items into the Trash and hit the "Delete" button.
No matter how hard we scrub, residue remains.
That's how we're wired.
So perhaps part of the work I'm being asked to do this Elul is to recognize the ghostly outlines that remain long after the events have passed, and learn how to carry them, live with them, place them into the right perspective which comes by gaining distance and time.
Elul is about making amends, yes; but it's also about scrubbing, cleaning, letting go and also learning to live with that which can never be completely resolved. So when we walk into Rosh Hashanah -- the New Year of the Soul -- we will be, not perfect, but at least more aware, humbled, amazed, and hopefully better for making the effort.
May your Elul journeys be equally eye- and heart-opening.