For many it is a time of new beginnings, back to school, a new cycle of commitments, groups, even new resolutions. But for today, we hang on to summer, enjoy the sunshine, and savor the warmth.
For me, September has always marked by big beginnings and endings. I became a mom on a September afternoon, and remember vividly that profound emotion of that moment and the mantle of a new role, and more so an awesome responsibility. Life changes in that moment. Two of my children were born in September; and my memories of September are marked with birthday parties, fall fairs, canning up a storm, and the hustle of getting my children ready for school.
In 1995 September took on a new sadness as my husband of 19 years was ushered into heaven after a short battle with cancer. And so September is also a reminder of those days of caring for him, of our end-of-life conversations, of saying good-bye. I was blessed to have those moments; not all do. I ache for my friend Fiona, who will also bury her husband on a September day this year, and we mourn for Derek's passing, and think of all the rich gifts he gave to his family and all who knew him. He lived life well.
My pondering has been on death and life, and remembering, as it often is this time of year. I was drawn to the words of Henri Nouwen as I read his thoughts this week:
"Choose life." That's God's call for us, and there is not a moment in which we do not have to make that choice. Life and death are always before us. In our imaginations, our thoughts, our words, our gestures, our actions ... even in our nonactions. This choice for life starts in a deep interior place.Death and Life are all around us - I see it in my garden as the leaves die and crumble, while the gifts of rich produce are there - full of life.
I choose life while acknowledging death. To choose to live in celebration of what is - this day has been given to us - a special gift to live - and to live well. To cherish the people that enrich my life with their presence, my friends, and my family, and even the stranger that smiles at me as we pass by.
Each new day can be a new beginning. So as I say good-bye to August, to summer, I choose to embrace September, and all the good things to come.