In praise of letting go

By Rev Fiona Bennett (From Seeds November 2021)

 I feel very lucky to live in a country which experiences seasons so starkly. I am sure there could be bonuses living in a country which was always warm, but I do really appreciate our seasonal change.

The leaves turn and drop. The trees send their energy to the roots warmly buried under the soil. Geese fly south and other creatures prepare for hibernation. I have always seen autumn and winter as holding some form of welcome lockdown, though wonder if the Covid pandemic has perhaps soured that concept.

I find the changing of the seasons especially useful because they serve as a reminder that life has seasons. There are winters when we dream and prepare, or sometimes just survive; springs when new things start; summers when we feel productive; and autumns when we begin to let things go. We cannot live in a constant state of any one season; to be constantly only dreaming, or only starting new things.

Only producing or only letting go not only feels unhealthy but is unimaginable. Yet so often as humans, I wonder if in some ways we only really value the springs and summers?

I wonder if we value time to dream and prepare? If we honour the days we only survive? If we value the letting go as much as the productivity?

Perhaps it is human nature to aspire to be spring/summer active and productive beings, or perhaps there is a wisdom in learning to deeply appreciate each season of life as it sweeps us along: to savour the letting goes as well as the new beginnings, trusting that all the seasons are a perpetual movement of divine creation in which God is present and waiting to be encountered.

May the autumn of the earth and the autumns in our lives be a time of blessing and grace.

To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, And a time to die;

A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill, And a time to heal;

A time to break down, And a time to build up

(Ecclesiastes 3: 1-3,

New King James Version)