“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” – Autumn, described famously by John Keats, seems to bring out the poet in all of us. To some, the season of new beginnings, with the start of the academic year, the end of Summer and the onset of everything being suddenly flavoured with pumpkin (blame the Americans!)
Every culture or group have traditions that grow over time; some of them good, some of them eventually a bit pointless. One tradition that we have in the Christian community house I live in, revolves around peoples’ birthdays. Everyone gets a cake (or pavlova, or cheesecake, or fruit salad, depending on their tastes) and we all sit around, eating and taking it in turns to tell that person what we appreciate about them. We also pray and ask God if there’s anything He wants to say to them. (Disclaimer: it is my birthday soon, so this might be why I’ve been thinking about it!)
It’s fair to say that we live in a cynical age. Everything is questioned, picked apart and doubted. But it’s no wonder. This past week or so has seen the nation and the government divided, leading to a bubbling over of hate and prejudice, with accusations flying from both sides.
At school, we would often hold debates in class, where some people would be assigned to argue “for” the topic, and others “against”. After each side had voiced their opinions, we were asked to switch sides and argue from the opposite point of view.
I remember finding this quite difficult, as sometimes it meant I was holding forth about something I didn’t really agree with, but thinking back on it now, I think it does teach something valuable. When you have to look at both sides of an argument, it gives you a bit of balance and helps you understand where the other person is coming from, even if you still don’t agree with them.
One of my favourite scriptures is “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) It’s become my mantra over the years.
I’m a fan of the summer: I love sitting outside and feeling the heat of the sun on my skin. There’s a feeling of contentment and peace that can only be described as internal warmth.
I’ve often heard people say “there is beauty in our brokenness”. Recently I saw a post on Pinterest about “Kintsukori” –
“the Japanese art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken”.
It’s a lovely expression, but do we really believe it?