Fall is my favorite season. Many of my close friends and family love the arrival of spring, with its burgeoning flowers and promise of warm days. They long for the heat and the opportunity to be active outside again after the long winter. But for me, it’s the arrival of cool weather, the dying back of summer plants, and the promise of darkness that inspires my mind and restores my soul. I was born in the autumn, and I suppose that may be why it appeals to me so much; some would say it’s my ‘native’ season. What I love about autumn is its quietness, its stillness, its promise of slowing down. We live in such a busy world—the cell phone is always chiming, the traffic is always getting faster and more frantic, the news is always getting more and more chaotic. I long for days when nothing happens, for days when it’s too cold or dark to do much outside, and when time is best spent in front of a fire, reading a book or doing a puzzle. In the summer, it’s easy to feel guilty if I’m not out exploring, or working in the garden, or getting something done. But in the winter, the weather and the short days just invite stillness.
Perhaps this speaks to one of our modern dilemmas: just how ‘productive’ is productive enough? Do you ever feel like you ‘should’ be doing more, producing more, completing more things on your list, or just being ‘more’ of something? More patient, more calm, more involved, more creative, more engaged, more educated…whatever it is, our society has a tendency to value us by constant increase. Dr. Seuss describes this in his wonderful book The Lorax by naming our society’s tendency for always ‘figgering on biggering and biggering.’ But doesn’t our first principle argue that we are already enough? Doesn’t “inherent” worth and dignity mean we don’t have to prove it, or produce it, or increase it? To my mind, fall is a time to remember that first principle of Unitarian Unversalism: we are enough, just as we are. So as the leaves begin to fall, and the days grow shorter, I invite you to take time to be still, to reflect on your own goodness. Take time to notice just your own muchness: the skills and qualities you already have, the gifts you have already given, and received. Take time to notice the wonderful qualities inherent in who you are, and rest in the knowledge that you are enough. Like the autumn that drops gently into the quiet of winter, let us be gentle as we surrender to our own essential selves.
In faith and peace, Rev. Carol