“April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire …”
The opening lines of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land have haunted me. I have always believed it is November that we should have deemed “the cruellest” of months. The warmth of summer is gone. The beauty of autumn is dying. The excitement of both the liturgical and secular festivities in preparation for Christmas have yet to begin (although commercials for holiday shopping are already assaulting us)!
November reminds me of endings. The sky is so often gray. The cold is now at times felt. The Sunday readings during November will reflect the ending of a liturgical year – life and death issues.
This is that time of the year that I, as a priest, have the obligation to remind you that the span of your physical life is limited. The “year” is dying, and guess what … little by little so are we! So as the Book of Common Prayer tells me, so I ask you: Have you made sure that you will provide for those who will survive you when your journey is ended? Have you made your WILL so that your wishes will be legally respected? Have you filled out the “funeral planning sheets” in the church office or met with your priest to plan your funeral liturgy at this non-stress time so that it reflects what you truly wish? Have you made sure that you will offer a final gift to that charity or good work that you believe in and you have been supporting? Have you remembered to include your church among those to whom you offer a gift? (Read p. 445 of The Book of Common Prayer.)
As we head into the Winter of our Lives, are you thinking about the people who love you and whom you love, “mixing memory and desire” as Eliot once wrote?