To Know Is Not All

At the cusp of the year and the decade, I find myself thinking of George Santayana, who said, “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind, than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”

We are, it seems, hopelessly enthralled in the changing of the seasons.  Solstice, Christmas, New Year’s Day, all markers of the changings in which we make our days, changings we honor and celebrate with gusto.

We mark them, these changings, as though once we are through with them, they are done.   It would seem we think we can check them off as on a to-do list, and then put them away as we do our decorations, in the cellar, the attic, or the trash.  It would be so neat and tidy, were it so.

But life is not neat and tidy, nor was it meant to be, whether we wish it so or not. The endings don’t end – they just roll on into whatever – whatever comes next. And we roll with it, awake and attentive, or head down, curled in a ball.

I am one of those who likes to be awake and attentive – to see what is coming at me, even if I don’t like it, and prepare.  As a child I always unnerved the nurse or doctor giving me vaccines, because instead of turning my head, I would insist on looking, and watching the needle enter my skin, and the serum enter my arm.  I’m not saying that’s the right way to do it, just acknowledging, up front, that it is my way…head on. But we all know, whether we look or turn our head, that needle is coming.  And we show up for it, because we know it is good for us.

So here, on the cusp of the new decade, we know that we are not really leaving behind the previous decade, the parts that pleased us and the parts that troubled us. We know there is much left undone, much work ahead of us.  Greta Thunberg will not let us forget.  We know that and gird ourselves for the tasks ahead.

But there is more than the knowing.  My heart and soul are sure of it.  I offer you, as you greet the 2020’s and the rest of your life, these words to remember:

“To know is not all, but only half.  To love is the other half.” John Burroughs, the naturalist said it.  We are wise when we live it.  And faithful.

In some ways, that captures the essence of our seven principles.  To always seek, and always seek in love.

Good advice for 2020.  Good advice, for life.

“To know is not all, but only half.  To love is the other half.”

May both halves be yours.

Happy New Year,

Rev. Anita