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Seasonal wisdom suggests letting anger go makes space for what we value

Seasonal wisdom seems to suggest that autumn is a time to be reminded of, maybe even to practice, the art of “letting go,” but to do so in a blaze of glory!  Some years that just seems like a recurring theme, but this year feels different to me. 

I think of “letting go” as appropriate in terms of spiritual growth, of simplifying my life—you know, getting rid of the skirt or sweater I just love but haven’t worn for two years, of using my feet or the bus instead of my car whenever I can, of making more space in my life to think, pray, be, just be! 

I also think of “letting go” as a part of the process of grieving, of holding and remembering at the same time as living in today, ready to take the next step in the belief that life awaits.

This year, I see “letting go” with different eyes. 

I see so much that we seem to be letting go in our country, traditions and values that we have held as characteristic of being Americans. 

I don’t want to let go of welcoming strangers, knowing that their stories will make my story richer and deeper. 

I don’t want to let go of respect for the opinions of others, honestly and respectfully offered and respectfully received, not contingent on agreement, not misjudging or maligning motives. 

I don’t want to trade the common good for wealth, job security or fear. 

I see these values being challenged.  It would be easy for me to say that I am not making those decisions, someone else is, but our country is like other communities in that the work of some becomes the responsibility of all, so we cannot disassociate from what is happening.

We cannot not be “we.”  

So I have to look for and appreciate the blaze of glory that autumn suggests. 

I have to give my being to making the colors of our values as bright as anyone would dare to hope. 

I have to be the welcome, the listener, the worker for the common good. 

I have to find the stories of others doing that, too, like the first responders who risk their lives to save all, persons open to real conversations about important issues, people in positions of power who use their influence on behalf of all, particularly the most vulnerable among us.  There! 

That is the blaze of glory toward life, not death, like the lovely leaves falling to the ground.  Even they are hope for the rich soil of spring!

I am one of those who tends to say each year that the autumn colors are more beautiful than ever before. 

I am making a commitment to make this season of “letting go” the most beautiful colors ever in my life by making space to befriend strangers, by taking the time to make all those phone calls that inform our senators and representatives, and to introduce meaningful conversations more often. 

That will help me to let go of some unproductive frustration, even anger, in times when it looks as though we are headed into winter bleakness with no sign of spring. 

To persist, we need to remember in the blaze of glory as trees let go of their leaves, that the springtime blooming will follow the bleak midwinter.

Mary Ann Farley, SNJM

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