This is my favorite time of year. The weather outside is crisp and cool, which makes me grateful for the intermittent presence of the sun. It must be the bright illumination juxtaposed with the dullness of the season that draws me into a reflective space. I love to sit in the fall, perched on the edge of the hearth, gentle fire warming my back, staring out the window into the bleak yard. I think I’m enamored with God but it might be the glory of the season that makes my heart swell. I like to daydream in the winter, like a hibernating bear, only I give my thoughts free reign.
Today I consider the state of our world and I worry that we’ve forgotten how to love each other. Where do we find hope in the midst of such violence and despair? My dear friend Phyllis always prays for peace in the heart, peace in the home, and peace in the world. It makes perfect sense to me now. If there is no peace in our hearts, we won’t find it in our homes, and the world will reflect this general malaise. I feel ashamed for my comfortable life especially when held up to all the deficiencies in the world. How do we render this situation? I feel impotent when confronted with the enormity of it all.
Like a magnet, I am pulled back into my narrow little world, by a bunch of mundane distractions. It’s the end of the semester. There are projects, papers, and presentations to grade. The holidays are barreling down on me, gifts to purchase, family gatherings to attend, Christmas lights to hang, and the dreaded tree to decorate (I was born without the tree decorating gene). I’m attracted to the extreme opposites of the season. The shortness of the day against the long cold nights, the sweetness of chocolate paired with bitter coffee, not to mention the birth of the prophesied child to the Virgin Mary. Jesus was born into a violent world, but he doesn’t let this overwhelm him, he simply ushers in a new social order, based on love. This was an extreme vision for the culture of his time and one that would benefit our world today.
I remember listening to a final interview with Steve Jobs. He was an extreme sort of guy and I was always intrigued by his creativity. He seemed obsessed with work, perfectionism, but he changed the world with his unique vision. At the end of his life he said, “What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love.” I don’t know if he really thought he would be able to access his memories after death, but clearly in life, he thought this important enough to mention. If nothing remains but our acts of love what a world it could be. Happy Thanksgiving all and may our love reign.