I have made note of this before in these Daily Cups – November is a sorrowful month. All Saints Day moves to the remembrance of All Souls, Kristallnacht, Veteran’s Day. Colorful trees are replaced by a quiet grayness. The earth, in this land of four seasons at least, gently folds into itself for a rest and these feel like times for introspection and stillness. For me, November gives sorrow a valuable place in our lives.
In Alan Paton’s novel of mid-twentieth century South Africa, Cry, The Beloved Country, he writes: “My friend, your anxiety turned to fear, and your fear turned to sorrow. But sorrow is better than fear. For fear impoverishes always, while sorrow may enrich.” It is said at the point when the father, after searching for his long lost son, finds that he has been arrested for murder, and the father is counseled by a priest to see that “Sorrow is better than fear…fear is a journey, a terrible journey, but sorrow is at least an arriving.”
If you too feel the sorrow of November, than take heart in having arrived.
The New York Times recently carried an article titled “Wild Messengers” in which the author examined the sorrow she felt when her mother died. She found comfort and connection in the natural world, much as the author of the poem I wrote about last week, Do not stand at my grave and weep [Poem], does. I think God just wants us to stay connected to living, and when grief is that strong, perhaps the simplest connection is with nature and animals. Even in November, if we just open our eyes, there is an abundance of life all around us. New York Times, “Wild Messengers”
I’m aware that this and last week’s Daily Cup writings have been about sadness. They don’t come from any current personal sorrow, I assure you! Rather, the text of the choir’s communion anthem last week resonated with so many people who have taken the time to mention how much they loved it, and I wanted to share the beautiful article from the Times with you because it seems to have been directly born from that poem.
And finally, a soundtrack for this November day, with words of promise found in Psalm 145:16-17: The eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord, and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living creature [thing].
The eyes of all – Jean Berger