November Message from Rev. Telos Whitfield

 Want the change.  Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.

Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

excerpt from Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Dear Ones,

We embrace Change as a theme this month – a natural process of living, and we cannot predict or even really prepare for changes that might happen for us, other than striving to remain open, believe that we can handle what comes toward us, and that we are not alone. A change can be small, almost imperceptible as we age, while other events change our lives forever. But we can work to remain open and as peaceful as possible. As we shift and adapt, facing whatever changes we might individually be facing, it is comforting to know at some level within ourselves, that we will not be given more than we can handle. We are held by the network of support that is All Souls. We have been a congregation for one hundred years! It has been inspiring to witness the discoveries of our history over these past few weeks.  I am grateful to be part of celebrating 100 years of our Unitarian and Universalist congregations coming together in Brattleboro! We have discovered writings and newspaper articles, photographs and meeting notes. There is so much to learn, honor and celebrate! We learn and honor the history of All Souls, together.

Ah, I have had dramatic changes unfold in my life in the last few weeks. I am trying to “flow into the knowledge that what I am seeking finishes often at the start, and with ending, begins.” My parents are both living with me now, and we are navigating our life together. Many of you have met my mother, who has attended church and just a few days ago, we brought my father home to my house after a long stay in the hospital, recovering from a stroke and a recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. Thank you for your caring and insight during this changing, challenging time. I have found two caregivers that are such a gift. One, a deeply religious woman who prays her rosary as my mother is resting, and takes her for rides all over the backroads of Vermont. And the other, a new friend of mine, a singer and massage therapist who also happens to have caregiving experience, has taken our laundry home, cleaned my house and has the most beautiful smile. My father said she smiles with her eyes, mouth, her whole face! I am grateful for All of the support and care you have given me, the advice and guidance based on your experiences with caring for loved ones. And your understanding of what is unfolding in my life right now. My calling as your minister has given me strength and inspiration, and my role as a daughter has challenged and inspired me also. So Yes, I give thanks for this precious day, and for the opportunity to serve this creative and caring congregation. 

With Gratitude,

Rev. Telos