Russell’s Monthly Newsletter – November 2021 – ‘Do you like Autumn?’

Russell’s Newsletter

‘Do you like Autumn?’

November 2021

Dear Friends,

Do you like Autumn? For me it is a time of hard work – both in the church (November is always a busy month as we mark Remembrance and then move quickly on to the start of Advent) and in Fairoak Close it is the time of year when we are trying to cope with leaves falling all around us. Autumn is not just the season before Winter. In its own right it teaches us something special.

Autumn reminds us that we have to learn to embrace change as we move towards shorter hours of daylight. We are perhaps not good at this. Many people suffer from the longer hours without sunlight. The darkness can be fearful. But Autumn reminds us that we have to learn to embrace the darkness as well as the light.

A story is told of how we must accept all situations where we are left in the dark without answers: A student went to visit a wise teacher. He visited his teacher just before sundown. They sat on the floor casually drinking tea and discussing wisdom until deep into the night. Finally, the teacher said to the student it was time he went home. The student walked to the door. ‘It’s completely dark outside,’ he said. His teacher lit a lantern and said, ‘Why not take this?’ Just as the student was about to take the lamp from his teacher’s hands, the teacher blew out the flame. The student suddenly knew everything there was to know.

Sometimes there is no remedy for our situation than to begin from a point of absolute darkness. Turning off a television set and extinguishing a lantern have certain similarities; they are both abrupt and transition making, and can leave us in a different world. In darkness, it can feel as we are always on our own. But we are never on our own.

Autumn teaches us that we have to let go. As we watch leaves fluttering to the ground in the fall, we are reminded that nature’s cycles are mirrored in our lives. Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things that have been a burden. Autumn reminds us of the impermanence of everything. We have experienced the budding of life in spring and the flowerings and profusions of summer. Now the leaves fall and bare branches remind us of the fleeting nature of all things. Jewish rabbi and writer Harold Kushner suggests that when we contemplate autumnal changes, we grow more appreciative of all the beauties that surround us. We need to learn to cherish the beauty of a sunrise, a crisp autumnal morning, a convivial evening with friends, a child’s hug, precisely because those things will not be around forever and neither will we. Autumn challenges us to live every day to the fullest.

A good lesson to learn.

With love and prayers, Russell.

Posted – 7 November 2021

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