November feels like the right time of year to deal with the difficult theme of endings. Darkness grows stronger, the wind gets colder, plants fade away and the animals hunker down for winter. Another year is drawing to a close, and thoughts of endings and loss arise.
The painful reality of living is that all things – the good and the bad – come to an end. Sometimes they are transforming into something new and better, sometimes it is the final ending of death. How do we live gracefully with all the endings? What does it mean for us as Unitarian Universalists, to be a people of endings?
We seek to honour the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We live knowing we are part of the interdependent web of life on this planet. We acknowledge death as the natural outcome of life. What lives, must die. What happens after death, is part of the mystery of the universe. We just don’t know.
Accepting death as natural, accepting that endings are as much a part of life as beginnings, means accepting the pain that accompanies loss. Loss brings complex and difficult emotions, which can range from great grief to shameful relief. Anger often arises as we struggle to accept an unfair or unexpected ending. As people of the chalice, in accepting endings as part of life, means we have to learn to accept the difficult feelings too.
As we explore this tough and tender subject of endings, please take care of yourselves. While we often encourage people to take risks and push outside the comfort zone in theme ministry, for this month, I encourage you to stay in your comfort zone. Do things that nurture your spirit and make you happy. It is easier to face pain when we feel secure. Only engage with the resources as far as you are able to without being overwhelmed.
May this month be one of gentle insight.