The Reporter (Lansdale, PA)

February is a mixed-up month

- The Reverend Dr. Deborah Darlington celebrates all traditions and welcomes interfaith dialogue. She can be reached at GraceMatte­rs@TheSpaceFo­ for inquiries about sacred celebratio­ns and spiritual matters.

Welcome February, the month of mixed-up-unity! Hasn’t this been a month — well, actually, a winter? Or, should I say a non-winter? Sun, rain, flurries and wind have graced this early month of the New Year. Most of us have had to keep four sea- sons of clothing rotating through our closets! And don’t get me started on the shoes!

February is also the month of seemingly conflictin­g holy days and celebratio­ns — Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras live in harmony with St. Blaise, Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season along with Imbolc and Nirvana Day. That’s a lot of holy energy! Some of us honor some of these traditions, some honor all.

It is during a month such as this one where the Perennial Tradition can be seen to transcend the limits of our sometimes isolating vision of our faith. The Perennial Tradition or philosophy seeks out the great and common wisdoms expressed in different ways by each faith practice and affords us the opportunit­y to celebrate the sacred ground that we share.

In 2023 we continue to struggle to embrace a cosmic vision of unity; one that would envelop us in a warm, inclusive, gracefille­d hug. As with the seasons — 60 degrees today, 20 tomorrow, sunshine in the morning giving way to flurries at dusk — difference­s work in concert with each other to offer a full view of creation. The day is the day, throughout its varied iterations. We experience them all and understand the value that each contribute­s to our planet and our lives.

Just like grace. It appears at different times, shows up when it’s least expected and takes on an abundance of surprising shapes. We all experience this gift of grace and the gift of each other in our own way and we all benefit, learn and grow because of it — if we allow ourselves an open heart-space.

So perhaps, once again, we can learn from nature in the spirit of the Perennial Tradition — welcome the rain, enjoy the sunshine or throw a log on the fire — enjoy it, even if it’s all in the same week. Send a Valentine, cherish the mid-point of winter, sit in reflective silence, remember our origins and offer acts of surrender and compassion. May we all experience and learn from all traditions, familiar and mysterious.

Welcome the stranger — now, stranger no more. Cheers, February!

 ?? ?? The Rev. Dr. Deborah Darlington.
The Rev. Dr. Deborah Darlington.

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