“Tis the season…” June begins a plethora of seasons for me. As one whose days were at one time calibrated to the academic year, I am now am witness to and living into seasons determined by other factors–age, mobility, family evolution and political whimsy. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a season for everything, a time for everything under heaven. But I wonder if the writer could have imagined the kinds of seasons that I am encountering as a person, a woman, a mother and grandmother, a church member and a citizen.
For a decade or more June for me began the season of the General Assembly of the larger church to which I belong. I went to each gathering, either to participate in deliberations or to teach seminary students about both the Spirit and the instrumental working of the larger church. Hope and feelings ran high and love, every spare minute was booked and accounted for, perspectives were shared and challenged. It was a time of high adrenaline and intensity with a steep learning curve with people to whom you belonged but had never met. I have enjoyed observing from home how GA continues to change and adapt and become the next thing, with new players, new sensibilities, new energy this year. But my season at GA is over. I now take the role of the Prayerful Observer, trusting that the same Spirit that brought energy, imagination and love to the gatherings I attended does so still.
While in academia June began the season of travel–faraway places like Spain, France, Germany, and The British Isles or parts of our own country like New Orleans, New England or New Mexico. Airplane, train and car were all at our disposal, and I loved the exploration, the introduction to new things, and the unfailing beauty of the unknown. I am fascinated as I follow the peregrinations of beloved ones around the world this year–Bhutan, Amsterdam, Nairobi, the Holy Land, France and Iceland. Yet for the time being this is not a season of travel for me. Surgeries, illness, needs of those for whom I care and my awareness of my aging body have kept me tethered to my home space. For now I am an Armchair Traveler, squealing with delight at picture of glaciers and waterfalls, opening wide eyes at beauty in museums and mountain ranges, laughing aloud at happy faces mugging and clowning in exotic lands. And I pray for open eyes and hearts for each one along with safety and protection.
What season is it for me this June? I am discovering day by day what it might mean to be a Prayerful Observer and an Armchair Traveler. I am centered in praying without ceasing: I can’t march downtown, but I can send contributions from my computer, along with my thoughts and prayers. I can’t attend the rallying meetings around the neighborhood, but I can mail in my ballot, and encourage others to do the same. I can’t bring a casserole over, but I can offer words of encouragement and send cards of joy to “encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, and be patient with all of them,” (I Thess. 4:14). And to bring the patience home: to be a peaceful, non-anxious presence in my own immediate sphere, stretching to the elastic and episodic needs of those in recovery, in waiting, in moving through change.
It is a quieter June than past ones, but I am seeking to welcome it, invite it one, and savor the way the Spirit comes to heal, to bless and to give joy!