Saturday, November 10, 2007
Change of Seasons
After a long spate of unseasonable warm weather farther into what I consider fall, it is now officially and definitively, autumnal. And as usual, we are overdue for taking in all of the porch things for the winter because "you just never know" it could still be nice another day. As much as I love fall, I am always a little wistful about the end of summer because the combination of "the school year" and being inside more, and not being able to pad around the property barefoot is an adjustment to the system.
This year, with the advent of my seminary education, the change of seasons has meant something even more pronounced. This morning, as I lumbered around the kitchen waiting for the coffee to kick in, my Beloved came in hoping that today was the day I would make pancakes. He is the perky morning person that I am not. ( I actually have a coffee mug that says "Attention morning people, be perky at your peril." )
I was actually not thinking of making pancakes, after another late night of high school football. ( The good news is that we have made the playoffs; the bad news is it is now cold, and last night rainy).
But here is the eager pancake person, and what was the last thing I did that reflected more than just trying to get through the balance of the week of school, teaching parish, marching band, and music lessons? When did my seasons change?
So, as I made the pancakes, I remembered that I used to make baked goods each week for our church fellowship- baking has a therapeutic quality for me. And I notice that my baking powder is now past its date, and there is a fine layer of dust on the stand mixer. And the bread machine? Lonely and untouched since August. I have shelves of cookbooks and always collected recipes to try, jamming them into the leaves of other cookbooks so that when you open the book, they flitter out like butterflies as they head to the floor. I used to be that person.
And I while I could blame the load of schoolwork, and family and parishas the exclusive reason for this change, the truth is it is more about transition.
As I continue to make the switch from prior vocation and focus to the present, there is more on the side of the scales that is "new and unknown" and less on the side of "same as it ever was." Recently Gannet Girl blogged about her health woes and the balancing act of returning to school.
For me the woe is that of redefining parts of self while desperately trying to hold on to others. I still want to be sitting on the porch in my barefeet... and yet, while this is beginning to sound like a pity party, in the midst of this, there are indescribably wonderful moments in the parish I am serving, and in school. I've been asked to do a session on the seminary radio program and I was told I presented a striking thesis in a paper on the Didache, which I view as instructive to the church as we address seekers in our midst. How to instruct others in the faith in new and engaged ways, while retaining core beliefs. Change of seasons.
Last Sunday I spent Sunday dinner in an 1800's farmhouse and learned not only all about the parish, and when the modern electrics and indoor plumbing was installed from lovely octogenarians, but about the struggles of the members and their commitment for decades to teaching the seminarians. Unless however, this parish is prepared to change seasons and invite the new, their time is limited. As I recently read in What's Theology Got To Do With It?, the failure to accept change denies God the ongoing nature of creation.
Something to ponder. God does not seek to keep the season unchanging, either outdoors, or in our lives. Stated another way, God is active in our lives bringing forth creative and redeeming work. So while I will continue to struggle with what of the old me can survive, the seasons are changing and I should give thanks for the new and challenging things I am blessed to explore.