Monday, May 12, 2008

waiting for summer

at the end of parker palmer's insightful and gently written work, "let your life speak," he wraps up everything with a seasonal metaphor to describe the cycles and rhythms of life.  by taking this route, he dives deeply into the nature of all things around us, capturing the state of each season to describe experiences of birth, death, dormancy, renewal, joy, and loss. 

as the season warms toward summer, we wait for our gardens, both personal and shared, to produce fruit.  we begin to loosen ourselves from winter's grip and relax into the promise of plenty. i thought palmer's reflections on the season of summer and its characteristic abundance were are particularly fitting:

"daily i am astonished at how readily i believe that something i need is in short supply....the irony, often tragic, is that by embracing the scarcity assumption, we create the very scarcities we fear....

in the human world, abundance does not happen automatically.  it is created when we have the sense to choose community, to come together to celebrate and share our common store.  whether the scarce resource is money or love or power or words, the true law of life is that we generate more of whatever seems scarce by trusting its supply and passing it around.  authentic abundance does not lie in secured stockpiles of food or cash or influence or affection but in belonging to a community where we can give those goods to others who need them - and receive them from others when we are in need.

here is a summertime truth: abundance is a communal act, the joint creation of an incredibly complex ecology in which each part functions on behalf of the whole and, in return, is sustained by the whole.  community does not just create abundance - community is abundance.  if we could learn that equation from the world of nature, the human world might be transformed.

summer is the season when all the promissory notes of autumn and winter and spring come due, and each year the debts are repaid with compound interest.  in summer, it is hard to remember that we had ever doubted the natural process, had ever ceded death the last word, had ever lost faith in the powers of new life.  summer is a reminder that our faith is not nearly as strong as the things we profess to have faith in - a reminder that for this single season, at least, we might cease our anxious machinations and give ourselves to the abiding and abundant grace of our common life."


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