The Companion – Spring 2017 Edition
There are countless dimensions of life which seem to defy definition or have numerous definitions, depending upon one’s circumstance. As the snow flies and the trees continue to be barren, one overhears this expression, “Hope springs eternal.” The obvious reference is that one day the snow will melt, blossoms will appear, and warmth will once again grace the landscape. Usually the addendum to that adage is, “sooner rather than later.” However, I think hope is more than a climatic expression.
The Companion – Winter 2015 Edition
The change of season from fall’s color to winter’s chill is a curious time. For so many, it is the holiday season marked with family gathering, gift exchanges and wonderful decoration and much joy. These are good days that actually celebrate the chilled air and the absence of color which winter can be. For others, the chilled air and the absence of color are difficult passages because they are grieving the loss of someone they knew and loved. There is an emptiness and lingering sadness which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to become excited about the holiday’s greetings, celebrations and traditions. The experience of grief amid the celebration of a holiday season can be a most perplexing and challenging experience.
-Dr. John Aupperle
The Companion – Fall 2015 Edition
As fall arrives, we notice many changes. The flowers once vibrant in the spring now begin to loose some freshness. Trees once covered with buds and green leaves change to reds and brown, eventually falling to the ground. Gentle summer breezes give way to crisp chills which forecast a change. Yet, if we think carefully about these changes, there is something to be learned. Those flowers, now less vibrant, often hold the seeds for new flowers. Those leaves suggest a beauty that has a special quality. And yes, the chill suggests a different but nevertheless beautiful season. Fall is a time of transition for sure.
It reminds me of life. We all know the adage which proclaims that the only permanence in life is change. While we speak of that truth, it is often difficult to accept it. It is hard to realize that we are growing older. It is hard to accept that we are no longer the younger generation. It is difficult to accept conclusions are near. It is often challenging to think of the changes which await all of us in moments called aging, illness and even death.
And yet if we think about it, the beauty of meaning is possibility. As we grow older we can provide for grandchildren and others who can benefit from our success. We can live with fading strength in ways that suggest wisdom and even dignity that is truly inspiring. We know that there are some chilling winds ahead, and plans can be made that will allow for those winds of change to be heralds of a new and different season.
I have noticed that. Those understandings are not automatic. They do not happen without intention. If we are to make possibilities for the future, we need to intend that. If we expect for dignity to accompany life, we must intend that. If we expect for changes to move toward new understanding, that begins now. It begins as we realize our limitations and experience what comes from beyond ourselves. It begins as we intend for change to be a positive, and even a good thing.
So then, enjoy Fall in all of its wonder, change and beauty. Enjoy Fall as one of those moments which can make life so very very meaningful.
-Dr. John Aupperle
The Companion – Summer 2015 Edition
As summer dawns, there are many words which describe the season. Perhaps the one most frequently used is beauty. There is beauty everywhere. Flowers, clouds, trees and green hillsides are alive with beauty, which invites us to participate in the fullness, wonder and mystery of life.
I sometimes think that we don’t have that kind of experience enough. Life is so filled with maintenance, tasks and commitments that the beauty of life passes us by. We are so busy raising children, we fail to experience the fullness they bring. We are so committed to getting ahead in life that we miss its wonder. We are so involved in getting life all lined up that we miss its mystery.
The beauty of life is indeed captured in its fullness, wonder and mystery. The fullness of life confronts us nearly everyday. It is seen in the kindness of a friend or the loyalty of a child. Life’s wonder is seen in the experience of finishing a long anticipated dream, or realizing the achievement of a long expected goal. Life’s mystery is seen in the birth of a grandchild or, then again, the genius of morning. Life’s beauty is all around us. It is our choice in terms of experiencing it.
So then, wherever you find yourself, beauty abounds. Even clouds have a beauty; shadows can hold wonder; loss can be a mystery in which beauty can be experienced. Let’s not miss summer. More critically, let’s not miss life.