I spent my birthday at Villa Maria del Mar, the Santa Cruz retreat center that is right on the beach (see picture). I was there for a 3-day West Central Region (of Unity Churches) board retreat. While we spent a majority of the time in planning meetings, we did take a break (on my birthday afternoon) for personal contemplation and silence. And after walking for a while, I found a bench on a bluff where I sat and watched the waves roll in and out…reflecting on my life as I begin yet another trip around the sun…and (appropriately) my upcoming Sunday lesson on “riding the waves of change.”
My birthday coincides with the changing of the seasons, the days growing shorter, the leaves turning color and falling, and the temperatures dropping bringing that morning and evening chill in the air. I have always loved the fall, NOT for the explosion of pumpkin spice, but for the juxtaposition of endings and beginnings that birthdays and new school years symbolize.
I realized this year that my internal clock aligns more closely with the Jewish calendar where Rosh Hashana (the Jewish new year) comes in the fall, and offers a time of self-reflection, release and atonement – meaningful birthday practices – that also begin my preparation for the coming holy days of remembering our loved ones, giving thanks, and celebrating the rebirth of light and love.
So – let us join in welcoming this change of season…
May the earlier setting of the sun remind us to take time to rest.
May the vibrant colors of the leaves remind us of the wonders of creation.
May the visible steam of our breath in the morning chill remind us to give thanks for the breath of life.
May the harvest remind us of the abundance of our blessings – always enough to both have and share.
May the dying of summer’s spirit remind us of the promise that death is temporary and life is eternal, as we give thanks for this and every season of life, and learn to ride the waves of change with grace and joy.
Hope to see you all this Sunday.