Having been swept away by the vortex that is Facebook, I have stepped off of the virtual social scene to return to the solitude that is Blogville. A time of earnest reflection is now at hand as the month of Elul presses in on those of us bound by Covenant love. Elul- the month of “ani l’dodi v’dodo li”, I am to my Beloved, and my Beloved is to me. A time when God bends low to embrace and hold close all those who reach out in love and faith, hungering for that divine touch, that promise of the prophet- ahavat olam. The eyes of God search throughout the face of the whole earth searching for those whose hearts are turned to Him. And just how do we turn to Him? How is that connection made? Especially when my own heart feels as lifeless as stone-when the physical act of breathing seems Herculean? How does my limpid attempt at acts of random kindness stack up to the avalanche of failings that rise up to accuse me on all sides? “You should have done more” is the litany that plays on irritatingly in the backrooms of my conscience. Guilt drives me to commit to things that burnout pleads to be excused from. Must life be a continual exercise in dying? An interval in time and space where suffering is interrupted by the occasional hiatus of revelation, of holy comfort? Must the school of loving be so hard for some and so infuriatingly natural for others? Perhaps loss is like the erosion of a statue, rather than like the rupture of a dammed heart emptied of its reservoir of tears. My own heart feels like a desert at times, arid from the cynicism that is the fruit of chronic disappointment and fringe sitting. With so much talk of what it means to ‘live in community’, I am left begging the question- “what is community”? Is it that place of safety where love waits like the fire in the hearth, and the sweet companionship of loyal friends and family form the shelter under which one’s true soul ripens? Is it that place where, like home, “they have to take you in”? If so, what is it supposed to look like? Does one’s family qualify..ideally? And is it in the bosom of community that one is able to touch the face of God? For this loneliness is too much with me, and Elul cries for reconciliation like a child who has been too long estranged from a parent. God, the holy parent, the true Initiator of healing is on the hunt, seeking those who long to be found.