Message from the Pastor: Season for Everything

Photos and pocket watch

I very much liked to draw at one time. I had forgotten this until one of my trips back home to the farm in Kansas this year. One of my roles in our family system is to be the one who can throw things away - Ecclesiastes 3:6 offers these words: there is a "time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away." For me, it's almost always "throw away" o'clock. I like to travel as light as I can through this world, which gets harder and harder to do the older and more connected we become. This native predilection, plus the fact that I live farther away and am overall less connected to the artifacts of the farm, means that mom and brother leave it to me to do the deep cuts and cold-hearted sorting that is required.

Anyway, as I gave a cursory glance through yet another stack of poorly organized bags and boxes, I came across a picture I drew sometime in middle school. I don't remember the circumstances at all, but it reminded me that at one time, art had been a source of joy, something that I actively sought out time to do.

For once, I decided to keep something. Most of my papers, music, notes, and writing have gone straight to recycling or to the dumpster. This one came back to Minnesota with me.

There's not much to it: a stump with some barbed wire, a barn, a windmill, a silo, some patchy grass. It's a set of objects so familiar to me that when I found the picture, I spent some time trying to figure exactly WHICH farm this was. It could literally be one of hundreds of homesteads around my hometown. I still haven't figured out where it is, actually.

Coming into the month of November , we do a lot of remembering: All Saints Sunday. Confirmation Sunday, Thanksgiving week, and the Hanging of the Greens. We revisit stories of saints that have gone before, we consider our own membership commitments as our youth make their own promises, we offer thanks with those nearest and dearest, and then we keep to the old English tradition of decorating the sanctuary with greens in advance of Advent. It's a calendar so deep with remembrance and tradition I gave up long ago trying to put any other sort of worship series or theme into the space. There's just no point. If November was an attic, every box would be filled with yellowed paper and pictures and keepsakes that we're not quite sure what to do with, but we don't necessarily want to throw away either.

And it's okay not to sort everything every year. There is, as the writer of Ecclesiastes notes, a season for everything. If this is a season of sorting for you, take a breath and take some breaks, too. November, and December with it, is packed way too full of meaning and moments and memories to handle all at once any given year. Some boxes may need to stay untouched this go-round. Let your eyes fall on what they need to see and your ears be open to what they need to hear - trust that anything that you miss has its own time for discovery. I have my old drawing up in my office, across the room from Heron's preschool art, a kind note from a mentor, and a photo of a bluegrass band I use to play with. It, too, is a space dense with remembering and meaning. I don't dwell on it most days, but some days my eyes find something to rest on and rest in along these walls, reminding me of seasons past in life and ministry. May this coming season be kind to you, be it one of keeping - or one of throwing away.

Blessings, Rachel