October 2009

Life is in recession.
Trees are losing their leaves.
Sap is descending to the roots.  
Temperatures are falling.  
The days are getting shorter.  
There is a massive withdrawal of energy.  

Economically, we have been receding
now for many moons.  
Some are heralding the end of recession
and growth has begun again.  
Others say we are on the precipice
of falling again to deeper depths.

     Welcome to October!  
This is crazy time!  

Soothsayers appear out of the woodwork
conjuring up spells that the end
of the world as we know it is near.  
Ghoulish forces gather out of the ether
from all extremes of political perspective.  
Darkness grows along with our insecurities.  
Darker emotions that have been repressed
in the dank caves of our unconscious
decide to come out into the open and breathe fresh air.

Emotions that we generally are not comfortable with
want some attention.  Feelings of loss, depression,
guilt, grief, sadness, sorrow--a whole                                               
cacophony of voices want their day in the sun with us.                                     
Some cultures believe the fine line between                                                
the spirits of the dead and the living is the thinnest.                                         
Halloween comes at the end of the month                                              
and the church celebrates All Saints Day.                                              

    We experience troubling moods,
easily become unsettled, and afraid.   
The soul journey from the summer's “fire”
into the moody autumn mists is well underway.  
The landscape is changing fast.  
We smell the lingering smoke
of burning leaves in the late afternoons.  
Trees show their skeletons.  
Gardeners care for the root systems of their most fragile plants.  
We experience the fragility of the world
                                    in its decay and withering—its demise from glory.  

                                       We ask ourselves if we have laid up
                                           resources for the coming winter.   
                                           Animals store up for hard and difficult times.  
                                    Bears hibernate. Squirrels have stored their acorns.  
                                          Birds have migrated south.  
                                           Many animals grow thicker coats of hair.  
                                     We wonder ourselves if we have been prudent
and saved from the vast riches of summer
to carry us through the frigid winter months ahead.  
We hunker down for the journey ahead.

    We tend to live frugally, are not as wasteful,
and cut back on all the non-essentials.   
This is all part of the soul journey--
from huge inflations and excessiveness to shrinkage and deflation.  
Some of the deflations are called depressions.  
Life is receding.                                          
We are called to live with a new “normal.”                                             
Adjustments must be made--                                                 
painful set-backs to our life styles and pleasures.                                             
Life gets small and it will get a lot smaller.                                                  

Storms from the soul journey of autumn are huge                                          
making us feel small and insignificant.                                               
We get reduced.  We are cut down to size                                             
and experience our humanity in all its weaknesses:
our fragility, impotence, ignorance, and foolishness.

    Our soul finds a lot of food to mull over.
It is energized. Our devotional life becomes more insightful.  
Poetry resonates deeper.
Music carries extra melancholy.
We descend with autumn.
The wolf howl’s in the distance.
We sit by the fireside with ourselves for a change—
rocking back and forth.                                                            
A lament gathers in our voice--a cry of unsettledness—                                   
we are not as sure.                                         
We snuggle deeper in our beds with weighty comforters—                               
longing to be held in their embrace.                                         

     “In that moment of grace, the Comforter comes in like a warm quilt and
wraps my disheveled soul in loving silence” (Marilyn Brown Oden).

“It is grief that strips us to a genuine humility” (Walter Wangerin).

The Psalmist says:  “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

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