Autumn solitude | The Community
The Anglican Church of Canada home page
Sites at the Anglican Church of CanadaFind a ChurchFrequently Asked QuestionsStaff Listing

Autumn solitude

photo 4When I was a boy I had a habit of going for walks over the tundra for hours on end. During these walks, usually in the fall of the year, I was sometimes alone, sometimes with one of our huskies; however the circumstance, inevitably I ended up in great conversation with God. Sometimes these conversations ended up as songs to God, poems, or just the reflecting of the day’s experience. When I returned home, I would relate in the ways I could to my parents and my sisters. More often than not, I forgot the details of my words, and my family was left to wonder what encounters I had experienced. This past week, after a seemingly endless flurry of ministry projects, meetings, visits, and emergencies, I finally took a Saturday to be at home with family and by myself. It was so refreshing because I began to remember once again the importance of recharging batteries, taking time to nurture our home and garden, and prepare for the busy engaging autumn that is now upon us. photo 3 In the midst of this I cleared up parts of our backyard, cut the grass one last time, and limed the ground to prepare for a spring fertilizing. Much of this time I was alone with thoughts, with feelings, with anxiety, with God. To my surprise (perhaps not so surprising) I wrote a poem, entitled Autumn Solitude. For me, my words were once again offered to God, and spoke of my joys, worries, angst, and loneliness that I feel from time to time in ministry and in life. In between the stanzas and refrains, I reflected upon my lack of presence in my garden at home this year. The time spent in ministry and mission this year has drained my abilities to be present in my place of solitude. All the ways I have offered of myself to others have caused a lack of balance. There are weeds, there is expansive growth. There are failing perennials, patches in grass and suffering shrubs. This autumn fophoto 1r me has to be a place of solitude,  a place to reconnect with the roots of my strength. I need prayer, story, conversation with God in my solitude, so that I can be of good to the world around me. I realize that in the various ways I offer service to the people of God, I must be mindful that ministry has to be sustained with planning, vision, growth, reevaluation, refreshment. Ministry has to be nurtured as a garden is sustained through planting, tending, fertilizing, watering, pruning, and harvesting. In the beauty of this autumn I am reminded of the failings and accomplishments that have surrounded me in ministry this year. I ask that God walk with me as I was accompanied each day on the tundra, providing a song or psalm in thanksgiving for God’s presence.

David Burrows

About David Burrows

David Burrows is a priest of the church, currently serving in parish ministry within the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, a place he has called home for the past fifteen years. He consistently engages dialogue and action with the wider community through creative outreach projects. Cycling, kayaking, writing, and driving fast cars are distractions in his life.
This entry was posted in Easter(n) Pilgrims and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.