For many families up and down the land this time of year is all about letting go.
Little ones are heading off to school, passing through the school gates; older teenagers may be leaving home for the first time, with all that that entails. It all involves a letting go.
Back home at the vicarage, things are strangely quiet, and it’s a new beginning for me too!
In recent weeks, as we have been gathering things together ready for the new adventure of university, I kept passing the blackberry bush laden with luscious looking berries.
“I must pick those before Michaelmas Day”, I told myself.
Michaelmas Day falls on 29th September, and there is an old saying, that you shouldn’t pick the berries after that date because, depending upon the version you hear:
(a) The Devil has had his eye on them.
(b) He has spat upon them.
(c) Well, he has done something considerably worse to them, but I shall leave that to your imagination!
In other words, they are past their best.
If the berries are left un-picked, and the bushes hold onto them, they wither and shrivel up, and are good to no one.
There is no harvest without a letting go. Potatoes left in the ground will rot away; apples left to hang on the trees will be inedible.
And as I reflected on this, I thought of how it is also true for us and our lives too. Whether it’s letting go of our children that they might grow and flourish; letting go of our loved ones that they may be gathered into the harvest of God’s eternal love; or, when we ourselves are called home, letting go of all we hold dear that we may tread confidently and freely into that Heavenly country where, in the words of John Donne,
“There shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity in the habitations of thy majesty and glory, world without end.”
With every blessing,