As a born and bred Midwesterner, I feel not at all entitled to the joy of this sparkling spring weather, especially when I hear of my East Coast friends and family who have been making a regular spiritual practice out of shoveling snow and “driving while praying” along ice and snow covered roads. And yet some of my earliest memories of the Bay Area are early February days when visiting here in the mid-90s. I discovered that what I had known as spring happened here regularly in the middle of winter.
I just had one of those glorious days. My grown son and I together made an early morning pilgrimage to deliver a birthday gift to my ailing mother and took the long way home past my favorite cupcake bakery. We sat with our goodies on a bench facing a large fountain. We watched as a grandmother carefully guided her young preschooler as he toddled around the fountain’s border. It brought me back to a time that seemed not so long ago when my own son was that toddler, to a time when my mother and I were able to have conversation, when my task was only to be that safe guide for the important exploration of concrete edges.
Now I am glad to be able to pay attention to those small delights in other’s lives, to see new relationships forming with grandparents and small children and to be able to learn to construct a new kind of relationship with my own adult son who has returned home after a long time far away.
I look at what we are doing here in our community much in that same way. I feel privileged to be serving our church during this time of blossoming health, new relationships, expansion and learning. This coming month we’ll be sprucing up our grounds, tidying up our offices, laying out our welcome as we prepare to dedicate our building in March. I think about those founders who have gone before us, and believe they would be happy to see our dedication to their mission. I feel glad that we have made it clear that we value the wisest elder and are dedicated to helping guide the youngest babe.
When I make my brief local pilgrimages, I feel gratitude for my home, for my family and for this religious community where I continue to grow my faith. I do miss those deep drifts of eastern snow, even the exhaustion of shoveling, but I’m now sensible enough to remember that beauty and growth are near me wherever I am, whatever the age of my children. I am glad to be on this pilgrimage with you.