Tales November 2009

Dear Friends,

          As I write this, Halloween is right on the horizon - a big holiday in our neck of the woods for children and adults alike.  When I first moved to this area it took me by surprise to see orange lights strung in trees, elaborate graveyard scenes set up in front yards and then the famous Rutland parade to top it all off!

         I have been studying Celtic Spirituality recently and discovered that the roots of this time of year are deep ones that stretch back to celebrations of the abundant harvest as well as a time of remembering the people we love who have died.  In Celtic tradition this is a time when the veil between the worlds is very thin, and so those who have crossed over are very close to us. 

         This is also known as the Celtic New year, the start of the dark season, which they saw as a time of beginnings much like our lives begin in the darkness of our mothers’ wombs.

         It is so refreshing to me to find a new way of looking at things.  Moving to Vermont 16 years ago and seeing the elaborate Halloween decorations was eye-opening.  Today it is helpful to find a different way to see the darkness of the winter months, too.  Rather than dread the dark days, maybe it is possible to see them as an opportunity for going deeper within, for growing in new ways?

         I was walking on campus last week, complaining that we had not seen the sun in awhile, when the person I was with said, “I just love grey, cloudy days like this.”  It startled me so much that I stopped walking and looked at her, wanting to hear more.  My companion went on to regale me with the way an overcast day gave her permission to stay inside curled up with a good book, to drink hot tea by the fire, and to let go of her outdoor “to do” list.  I needed to hear that.  Imagine, letting my activities be guided by the weather, instead of pressing on ahead no matter what?  Wow.

         As this dark season begins, I invite you to join me in being more open to the gifts that each day offers - whether sunny or cloudy, warm or cold, rainy or dry.  There is much to be gained from living in a way that is truly “present” with whatever is in front of us.

 Blessings,  Shirley Oskamp,  Pastor