A Time for Reconnecting

By Hope Johnson

Aerial view of forest in autumn with a road passing through

Although there will undoubtedly be a few more warm days ahead, Autumn has started weaving brilliantly colored autumnal threads. This season does not work especially well for me because winter is, for me, a harsh and cold season. So, what do I do now? I dig deep within myself, challenging my "less-than-positive" attitude toward the turning of this season.

Intellectually, each season of the year is a treasure. Yes, I know, but I who dread the cold of winter as signified by the onset of autumn, find it hard to begin to identify the beauty and the spirit of this season that paves the way for the cold. Then I admonish myself to “tell the truth.” Autumn also brings the blessed release–on a bad day—from the relentless humid heat of summer.

Ever optimistic, my attitude inevitably shifts towards the positives. I remember that October brings my focus on the beauty and magic of the smell of fresh fallen leaves, pumpkins, cranberries, apples, decadent pies; and aromas reminiscent of warmth: allspice, cinnamon, and vanilla. There is also delicious soup —hot soup — and hearty stews that are made to be shared with others. Remember that strangers are often friends who we haven’t yet come to know. I find joy in identifying jackets, warm vests, tights, heavy socks, and layers of clothing. I feel blessed to have the privilege of buying or collecting, and then distributing these items. The gifts I receive include new relationships (sometimes they are rekindled old ones!), unexpected friends, being privy to joy as I remind myself over and over again that I, as a UU leader of color, do have some privilege—though I could use a whole lot more.

For me, October in many ways still bespeaks, “back to school.” It remains a time for reconnecting, exploring, and ramping up to be the best I can be in a new season. That works for congregations too! It's time to connect, and re-connect. It’s a time to accept the challenges that abound in this season of the realities of unease, of fear, and of terror knowing that none of us is alone.

My metaphor of those falling and swirling leaves is one where I imagine myself alongside you, in partnership with you—and others—as we each take responsibility for a piece of accountability to the community. Each of us can choose to be responsible for one small patch of the great lawn that we share 365 days each year.

Let us take advantage of opportunities to listen, learn, and share. Let’s as a UU community learn more about Unitarian Universalism, the Central East Region, and your place in all of this. Let’s get to know each other better. Please join us on Saturday, October 26, at New Day Rising at Shelter Rock.

When outside, imagine the larger issues at hand that surround us, and then notice which leaves are falling on your actual—or metaphorical—lawn. This October, may we be following the wisdom imparted by Maya Angelou as we “begin to stop, in order to begin again…”

Yours, HOPE

About the Author

Hope Johnson

Hope Johnson was a beloved elder in Unitarian Universalism. She served as the Congregational Life Consultant for the UUA's Central East Region and the Southern Region. She brought specialties in conflict resolution and multicultural congregational development.

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