“I was not pleased, during my childhood, to have been born in November, as there wasn’t much inspiration for birthday party motifs. February children got hearts, May ones flowers, but what was there for me? A cake surrounded by withered leaves?”
— Margaret Atwood
Sometimes I agree with Margaret. November is not my favourite month. In the fading light of autumn it seems like a constant reminder that life is short. I keep warning myself not to compare but as the dullness of winter approaches my mind goes back to more pleasant sunny days. Maybe that’s why the theme of remembrance keeps showing up this time of year –Remembrance Day here, the chants of “Remember, remember the fifth of November” in the UK and Thanksgiving in the US. Thanksgiving is really the healthiest way to handle November I think.
We can choose to remember with bitterness or with thanks, but I’ve noticed that if we fail to re-cap the memories of the goodness of God and thank him, those strengthening moments eventually are lost to us under piles of bitterness and complaints. Without re-calling the good times we project disappointment for ourselves and others. Some elderly people in the November of their lives are a delight to visit; some are not. The ones who remember the good times and are appreciative give away a sense of hope. The ones who rehearse their disappointment give away a sense of impending doom.
I’ve been realizing how much negativity has robbed me not only of my past, but of my future. I need to change. I can compare my life to those who seem to have been granted hearts and flowers from birth and focus on my dead leaves, or I can recall memories of God’s faithfulness — even in those leaves, and glory in their colour, saying, “Thank you, Lord! You are good, and You have a wonderful plan for my life.”
And mean it.