Okay, I did the preparation. I did the introspection. I figured out what to work on. I made a decision (not a hard and fast commitment but a decision). And here it is, the day after Rosh Hashanah and it’s hard to put it into practice. Am I a failure already? Without being too personally revealing, my resolution involved engaging in certain specific spiritually-related tasks before beginning all the other more mundane chores of my day. But my morning was like “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” mommy-style.

If you send a mother into the kitchen to get a bottle for the baby, she’s going to notice that dishes need to be washed. When she goes to dry the dishes, she’s going to realize that there are no clean towels and that she needs to run a load of laundry. When she goes to run that load, she’s going to see that the dryer is full of clothes that need to be folded and put away. When she goes to put away the clothes, she’s going to notice beds that need to be made and floors that need to be swept. When she sweeps the floors, she’s going to notice garbage that needs to be taken out. When she takes out the garbage she’s going to notice the garden needs pruning…oh yeah, and when she went to fill that original bottle, she noticed that they are running low on milk and that she needs to go to the grocery store…

And now it’s midday and that decision about her (i.e. my!) spiritual life is still unfulfilled. And it’s the day after Rosh Hashanah!! What’s a mother to do?

Luckily I have these 10 Days of Teshuva to evaluate, re-evaluate and to tweak my plan. Either I bit off more than I could chew or I didn’t anticipate all the potential obstacles in my way or perhaps it was just a failure of will power/ giving in to compulsion. Old habits are hard to change. Dealing with the physical is so much easier – and simpler – and while less elevating, more immediately rewarding. The clothes are clean. The floor is washed. The fridge is full. Dinner is made.

The shofar called to me and I was ready. I had plans. I could be different. Today, I’m folding laundry.

How quickly we lose our focus on what really counts, how rapidly that shofar sound fades. Just yesterday I was elevated. The shofar called to me and I was ready. I had plans. I was changed. I could be different. Today, I’m folding laundry.

But it doesn’t have to be this way (someone else could fold the laundry!). I could stick to my resolutions. I could begin my days on a more spiritual note that, while elusive in the moment, will actually carry me through the rest of the day. It’s available. My mistake was in thinking that it’s a one-time choice.

It’s a choice to make when the shofar blows but not only when the shofar blows. It ‘s a choice to make over and over and over again, day in and day out, moment by moment. I will lift up. I will focus on the spiritual. I will make my relationship with the Almighty a priority. The dishes can wait…

And it’s a choice not to give up. Just because I did it imperfectly today (and may do it imperfectly again tomorrow) is not a reason to give up the fight. I just need to keep trying. Perhaps tomorrow I will be able to engage in a few more spiritual tasks before I hear the dryer shut off. Perhaps the next day I will be able to delay that trip to the market a few more minutes so that my day can have a more spiritual focus. It’s not all or nothing. It’s not failure or success. It’s two steps forward and one step backwards – and sometimes the other way around!

King Solomon teaches us that a righteous person falls seven times and gets back up. If even righteous people keep falling, how much more so the rest of us. We’re all going to fall – over and over again. The real accomplishment is to get back up.

I can still hear that shofar in my head. It still resonates. I can still add some spiritual components to my day and tomorrow I can add them earlier in the morning. I can learn to ignore the mess (maybe I should see if my housekeeper can come more often…it’s for my spiritual good after all!).