When I was driving to work this morning I had this realization, I had not once looked at the speedometer as I drove. But when I checked it in that moment I was driving 50 km/h. I played with this fact, because I also drive through an 80 zone, so I did not check, waited, checked, yup, I was driving 80. It has become so natural for me to drive this route that I do it automatically.
There is so much in my life that I seem to do automatically. Some days I am in the shower and I wonder, did I wash my hair – and yes, I did. There are a ton of things I do the same way over and over without thinking about it.
And then there are those moments when you wake up in the morning and reality slaps you rudely across both cheeks in the form of frost.
The seasons always seem to surprise me. You would think after nearly half a century of summers ending in nights too cold to sit outside that it would no longer shock, but it does.
So why is that. Perhaps most of you out there reading this are fine with the change of seasons. Perhaps you are okay that soon the invisible mystery of breath will be solidified before your very eyes. Maybe you don’t even mind that it rains for months in the spring… But for me, even the hint of a change from summer is unwelcome. I never get used to cold.
The title of this column comes from an old hymn. Perhaps you have sung it in a church before? The opening verse, written by Frances Whitmarsh While in 1912 reads like this:
All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go;
The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow;
Hath sent the hoary frost of Heav'n, the flowing waters sealed,
And laid a silent loveliness on hill and wood and field.
I wish I was there. I really do. I know the changing leaves are going to be phenomenal. I know the cool nights make sleep easier. I know Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks. And yet, I am pining for 30 degrees and sunshine.
My attitude, although probably familiar, is wrong.
I know this for certain because I have tried in all other aspects of life to adopt a more relaxed and spiritual attitude to letting things be what they are. When we accept life and live in the moment it is easy to find oneself surrounded by beauty.
Embracing life in its fullness, the good and the bad, the cold and the hot, is a spiritual practice. It is an important way to be. I just find it hard.
The Bible starts… our religious manual as Christians starts… with this long convoluted creation story. So over the last 4000 or so years of collecting religious stories the agreed upon starting place is creation. Everyone should read that first. And to be fair, not a lot of the first bit matters. I don't care if stars came before sea or vice versa. But the message of the Biblical account does matter. The point matters.
So do you know what is said over and over and over in that story? The one repeated truth? “And it was good!” God created trees and they were good, God created swamps and they were good, God created… wait for it… snow… and it was good.”
So, back to work, back to school, back to coats and shoes with laces. Soon the shoveling, but first the turkey… life has seasons. And we need to embrace them and live in them and love them. Even when it is hard. There is beauty in everything.