Autumn hints that she is arriving. The days continue warm, but the nights are cooler. Glimpses of color changes can be seen in leaves on the trees about town. This is truly a paradoxical time of year. As nature begins to prepare for the turning of the season, and the darkness and quieting of fall and winter, we humans ~ Kick into Full Gear.
School has started! The new church year has started! The HOLIDAYS are coming!! There is nothing quiet and slowing about this time in our lives. Do we even have time to ponder this dichotomy?
I see us at church on Sundays (myself included) continuing this full throttle pace both before and after the service to conduct church business. “I’ve got to find Sue to see if this has been done,” “I need to connect with Daniel to ask him to do this”, “Is Tom here? Does he know about…” Sometimes it seems as if we create our own weather with these windstorms of activity.
I realize it’s not possible to slow our pace to match the season Mother Nature is working on right now; there’s always too much to do and too little time. But I would like to make a suggestion: Do your best to slow down 15 minutes before and after each Sunday service. I’m not saying give up the business that needs to be taken care of. I’m saying try to give it a rest for just a bit. Intentionally give yourself a small piece of time to prepare to open yourself to the gifts you will receive during the sacred time we create together in every service. Then give yourself the gift of carrying that out of the Sanctuary and melding it into your heart as you drink a cup of coffee or tea.
You could take that time to smile and welcome people you don’t know, visitors and newer folks alike. What are you here for? Community is part of it, being with people who share similar values. Open your eyes and look around. How many of these newer people have you met? If you’re rushing around to accomplish things with people you already know, those who are exploring UUFRC and hoping to find what you may already have here are not being welcomed.
What a great spiritual practice to slow down, open up, and welcome others. Try it. Let me know what it feels like. Let me know if it changes anything for you. And after you’ve spent a quieter 15 minutes before the service and 15 minutes following it…then you can rush around to get that church business accomplished!
May you find time, make time, with intention and caring, to enjoy the warmth of these last summer days, the leaves beginning to turn, the lengthening and cooling nights that gently encourage us to slow down, and the joy of meeting and connecting with those you don’t yet know. There are gifts wherever we turn, if we only slow down and pay attention.