Thursday, October 31, 2013

Honoring my inner Druid

Happy Samhain! Happy Halloween!

The New York Times has a great article today about the Druid celebration of Samhain, from which our observances of Halloween derive. There are about 29,000 Druids in the U.S., according to this article. Check it out here.

Samhain is a festival occurring approximately halfway between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. It's one of the 8 great feast days in the Pagan calendar. Samhain and the two solstices are some of my favorite days of the year.

No, I'm not a practicing Druid, but I do have strong "leanings" in the direction of some of the earth-based observances. I think it's important to honor the earth, and to mark the passing of time: the cycle of the seasons, the "dying" and "rebirth" of the sun, and the other rhythms of death and rebirth we see all around us. I think it's also important to remember those we love who have gone before us into the Great Silence -- in church, we remember them on The Feast of All Saints.  At Samhain, too, the veil between this world and the next is traditionally quite thin. Halloween has turned this into a scary thing, but it need not be so. I like thinking of the Communion of Saints all around me.

Tonight will be the first night this work-week that I will be able to stay home. I will be lighting candles in memory of dearly loved relatives, and holding their memories close to my heart. I'll greet any lingering Trick-or-Treaters, though we don't have many after dark anymore.

And, yes, I may try to watch the Halloween episode of Criminal Minds, which I missed last night.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Things I can't change

Sometimes I fret.

I fret over all the things I can't fix, but would like to. You too?

Life is full of these unfixable things, and they increase in number as we age. At the moment, for example, both my adult kids are having difficult adjustments to independence. I could give advice, but I'd be interfering. My husband is also going through a prolonged and exhausting job search, which has resulted only in anger and frustration. I could advise him to step back from the process, to take a good, long look at the way he has invested so much of his self-esteem in this zero-sum game of finding a job at 58. But he's not ready to hear that. 

Oh, did I mention that I now seem to have osteoporosis? Yippee-ki-yay! Now I have to get that shot that rots your jawbone. Can't wait.  I hoped lots of dairy products and calcium pills would prevent this. But no. 

So, in the face of things you can't change, what do you do? Back in the day, I'd have drowned my troubles in various fermented beverages. These days, I turn to my Creator instead, offering one of Anne Lamott's favorite short prayers: "Help!"

Maybe help will come in the short term. Maybe it won't. Maybe help for the people I love will come in the form of wisdom after a great mistake. Maybe it will come, incrementally, in soldiering on day by day through the difficulty. 

Maybe help will take the form of self-forgiveness, if needed, and a new life-path. Maybe clarity will come in our brief, human scheme of reference, or maybe in God's. 

I need to admit that I can't fix these troubling family situations. I need to stand back, take my ego out of the way, and wait for God. 

No harder thing for a "fixer" than that!