by Rev. Peter Connolly

I write this on the last day of February as a strangely mild winter (interrupted by double digit sub-zero temperatures early in the month) begins to wind down.  According to the astronomical calendar, Spring will arrive with the vernal equinox on March 20 this year– just a few short weeks away.  According to the meteorological calendar, though, Spring will be starting tomorrow, the first day of March.  I’ve been following the pattern of sunrises and sunsets for the past year and felt especially cheered when the length of daylight in the day passed the eleven-hour mark this past week.  Let there be light!  Last night’s snowfall has made it clear, though, that while our days are filled with more light, improvement in our weather is not guaranteed.

Just as there are seasons in the year, there are seasons in our lives.  I’m finding that the first half of  February is a hard time for me now in a way it never used to be.  My mother’s birthday was on the 7th of the month and my parents’ anniversary four days later.  These days that used to be celebratory, now are filled with a sadness of remembrance and regret that makes the dark days of winter so much darker.  I know that the experience is true for others, as well– maybe some of you who are reading this.  Certain days, certain, weeks, certain months are challenging for us.  Time has passed and has taken from us persons and things that we loved.  We need to make adjustments.  Calling an old friend helps for me.  Finding a movie that you know will lift your spirits.  Spending time with the things that bring you comfort– scented candles, soothing music, a dog by your feet or a cat in your lap.  

Remember, too, that your church community is a community of the spirit.  The  spirit of the group often does wonders in lifting the spirits of the individuals who comprise it.  Consider attending the Song Circles that start later this month.  Or join friends in one of the many social justice activities listed on your UU Updates.  And remember that your minister is always glad to find a time to meet for pastoral counseling or just plain company.  The church you love is the church that welcomes you and offers a place to be deeply human through times of joy and times of grief– a reliable community of the spirit through the shifting seasons.  We are here when you need us.  A burden shared is a burden lightened.

Blessed be.  I look forward to seeing you in church.

Rev. Peter