Onward to choir practice...

Fall is clearly upon us in the Berkshires. Here is a shot looking out my study window...
Two quick thoughts before a nap and then choir practice:

+ If pastors spoke to the people in their congregations the way congregants sometimes speak to their pastors... well, let's just say there would be blood in the streets. My wise predecessor used to say: If pastors want to be appreciated, get a dog. I mention this only because some people confuse speaking the truth in love with cruelty. Or else they are completely clueless about the delicate inner balance many clergy wrestle with every day: putting yourself out there as an introverted mystic in an extroverted utilitarian world. Granted, being a minister beats heavy lifting, but come on now people, smile on each other everybody get together, try to love one another right now, ok? Words can wound or heal - even critical words that are essential - so before nailing your pastor, ask yourself: would I want to be addressed in this manner? My hunch is probably not.

+ In Parker Palmer's small but sacred book, Listening to Your Life, he writes about his own
angst because "the experience of darkness has been essential" to "coming to selfhood. Telling the truth about that face helps me stay in the light." Then he adds this:

But I want to tell that truth for another reasons as well: many young people today journey in the dark, as the young always have, and we elders do them a disservice when we withhold the shadowy parts of our lives. When I was young, there were very few elders willing to talk about the darkness; most of them pretended that success was all they had ever known. As the darkness began to descend on me in my early twenties, I thought I had developed a unique and terminal case of failure. I did not realize that I had merely embarked on a journey toward joining the human race.

On this shadowy, cloudy fall afternoon in the Berkshire hills, another Parker Palmer essay (about the seasons) comes to mind.

When we so fear the dark that we demand light around the clock, there can be only one result: artificial light that is glaring and graceless and, beyond its borders, a darkness that grows ever more terrifying as we try to hold it off. Split off from each other, neither darkness nor light is fit for human habitation. But if we allow the paradox of darkness and light to be, the two will conspire to bring wholeness and health to every living thing. Autumn constantly reminds me that my daily dyings are necessary precursors to new life. 

Onward to choir practice!


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