Something seems to occur when November arrives. The days are shorter, there's a chill in the wind, the rain bites; the golden fields now harvested have turned a somber brown. The air is silent since the birds have migrated. Whatever it is November is a time in between. November is a season of the soul.
Times in between may be full of excitement and anticipation consider a young couple attending Lamaze classes for the first time. For others the days in between is not so easily embraced. For many in our community and throughout the Souris River Basin this November is more than month on the calendar. We are in a season in between: in between the mucking, the buttoning and the rebuild, in between the dwellings we called home and FEMA trailers on the front lawn, in between the flood and the plans for the valley, in between the past and what is yet to be. For many, November is more than a month on a calendar page, it is the landscape of our soul.
What comes to mind when you think of the November of your soul? I recall one such journey in my life. Days of uncertainty, anxious thoughts, the unknown, enshrouded me like a cold November fog. Like driving in a Dakota fog, I wanted to stop, open the door on life and feel just to sense a road, something firm underneath or to glance ahead and see more than a soupy grayness. All I could see was a fog of unknowing it was November outside and within.
Rev. David Maxfield
It was there in my November that I saw a tree, an ordinary tree across the street. It was a barren, slumbering tree leaves curled at its feet. It branches danced in the cold wind, its arms determined to stand and stretch forever reaching, pleading into the low slung clouds of November. I learned a lot from that silent tree.
In November, a tree relies on its roots for life. As the weather chills the sap runs deep. It is through the roots that the life of the tree is sustained when the leaves fall. Hmmm. You don't suppose there's a lesson there for you and me.
The tree of my November was a silent prayer. In the gray, in the fog, in the cold and in the nothingness of November there it stood, its arms stretched heavenwards, reminding me that unknown and uncertainty are not foreign to God and that in times of unknowing prayer take on new life.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
The tree only had a trunk and empty branches and yet that was enough to shelter a squirrel bring rest to the bird, and a smile to my face. In a November journey we need to know that we are still able to give and sometimes the simplest gifts are the bearers of great joy.
As the seasons turn and we come to the days of November, I recall a time in between a tree and a November journey of my soul. I ponder the amazing wonder of a God who comes, even in November and makes his home among us.
"Blessed are they who delight in the law of the Lord. They are like trees planted by streams of water" (Psalm 1:2-3)
The Rev. David Maxfield is senior pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, 502-17th St. NW, in Minot