Autumn is here. Leaves are changing color. The sun rises later and sets earlier. And nestled among the aisles of pumpkins, gourds and bags of Halloween candy are Christmas ornaments, strings of lights and sparkly wrapping paper. This year, as before, Thanksgiving is set to be a footnote between two other holidays.
I don’t know how it is for you, Blessed Reader, but I’m not ready to choose a Halloween costume, bake pies, or wrap Christmas presents yet. For now, I want to enjoy Now, the end of September, the journey into autumn. I want to watch leaves change completely and crunch them underfoot, before I decide what kind of Halloween candy to buy. And, as a long-time baseball fan, I want to enjoy the rest of the 2015 baseball season, the playoffs, pennant race and World Series, before I catch up on which teams might play in the Super Bowl.
With so much going on constantly, holidays running one into another, it’s as if we’re rushed from one thing to the next, before we’ve fully savored anything. Like the vacation traveler who’s so busy posting photos of her trip, she doesn’t actually see the sites or absorb the experience. It reminds me of a quote attributed to comedienne Lily Tomlin who said, “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”
Many of us would admit that we don’t enjoy the rat race. Yet, we get caught in it anyway, multi-tasking, trying to do more than our share, to keep pace and live up to societal expectations – whatever those are. Sometimes we go so quickly we don’t remember what another person said, where we’re going, or how our food tastes. Sometimes, we feel like rats, rushing through the ever-winding maze of life.
The Truth is: Sometimes, in the rush, we forget that we’re divine creations of a compassionate, loving, divine creator, God, the Source of all. We lose faith in the journey, believing we have to reach the front of the pack, even as we strive for things and experiences which don’t fulfill us. We lose faith in ourselves, and in our own choices, desires and dreams.
Trusting in the process of life and having faith for the journey means that we also accept one of life’s only guarantees: We’re on this planet for a finite time. Few of us know how long. Then, to put it bluntly, we die. Which scares the bejeebers out of some people. Yet knowing and accepting this, I believe, helps us realize how truly divine and precious our lives are. So, we stop chasing someone else’s dreams and fully embrace our own. We stop searching for the eternal fountain of youth. We stop wishing — for the 5,000th time — that the other person or situation will change. Instead, we drop out of the rat race. Then we enjoy the seasons and the scenery — and all the awe and wonder the journey reveals — now.