September always seems to be identified as a time of transition. It is a transition from Summer to Fall, from vacation to school and from leisure to work. People greet September with thoughts and feelings ranging from anticipation and excitement to dread and resistance. I think some of this has to do with the fact that change reminds us that all things are temporary; the good and the bad alike. One of my mother-in-law’s favorite sayings was, “This too shall pass.” It has taken me a while to figure out how wise she was.
Most people want to believe the impermanence of things when they are in the midst of some bad times, but not so much when they are experiencing good times. It reminds us of our Lord’s teaching that, “he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”
It reminds me of a sermon Fr. Lloyd Haupt gave while he was pastor of St. Paul’s. I recall he said something like, “We have to eat everything on the plate, not just the desert.” The point is that even the things we don’t have a liking for can nourish us. This goes for material food as well as that which is spiritual and psychological in nature.
To accept only the bright side of things is to reject reality as it is. One aspect of the beauty of Fall is the result of the dying of the leaves. So too, a beautiful landscape is the interplay of light and shadow. If we eliminate either, we will lose much of the beauty. If we accept with gratitude the “wholeness” of life as it is presented to us, we will not be far from seeing that it is also “holy.”