One of the things I love about the Midwest is our (mostly) decisive seasons. Despite a few welcome wobbling around warm spells, we now can feel autumn in the cool nights and our need for sweaters. I find our seasonal cycles ground me in inevitable change, predictable yet new, juxtaposing another end of summer with a new reality.

Throughout our “COVID times” we have needed to “Let Go” of hopes, dreams, plans, and even resolutions. We have longed for things like community and cultivating relationships in person at church.

Raising children also asks us to simultaneously hold “letting go” and “cultivating relationship.” As our children grow, we navigate the complexity of their becoming, and our becoming with a responsibility to our role in that process. Caregivers of young ones know they are witness to continual transformation, live and in person!

In truth, all our relationships are ever in transition: we are continually learning to love anew each day as we transform and grow, perhaps in subtler ways as we age, yet still significant. And there is a grief inherent in becoming, as we reflect on who we were, what could have been, and what awaits us.

How then do we continue to cultivate ourselves and our relationships? As far as I can tell, we keep showing up with intention. There is a discipline to relationships that asks us to just keep showing up with love in our hearts. Another Midwest tradition, when something needs to be done, just show up with your authentic self and invest time in one another. Isn’t that how we always get through to the joy, to the purpose, to the next complex-yet-miracle-filled future?

What I find life giving about our faith is that it invites us to be in relationship, with ourselves, our human family, and our earth. It asks that we ground ourselves in our connections and our personal truth. Even when the seasons change it reminds us to show up with intention and be who we can best be together.

May we embrace our growth, our grief, our young ones, and a curiosity about how our relationships can flourish.

Rev. Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson
Minister of Religious Education

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