I celebrated a birthday last week—not a particularly notable one, but enough to prompt dinner table discussion about what qualifies as “old”.
Then this week I accompanied Graham for one of his work events (something I rarely do, despite how often he accompanies me on mine). We attended a celebration of thanksgiving in honor of the retirement of the school headmaster with whom Graham has worked for the last 15 years—we enjoyed music, personal reflections, prayer, and lots of love to mark the occasion.
These observances have me thinking about the teaching to which I was introduced several years ago, out of brain science—about how our brains mark anniversaries, whether or not we attend consciously to those milestones.
That’s probably why many religious traditions’ liturgical years observe the same things again and again and again, annually. Because we—our brains, our bodies, our spirits—need to mark these meaningful moments. Perhaps we’re not even conscious at the time of why they are meaningful, but the observance matters, nonetheless.
With the rapidly approaching first anniversary of my father‘s death this summer, I intend to be mindful of the milestone—for him, for me, for his grandchildren. I don’t yet have a plan for that observance, but I’m thinking about it.
And I’m thinking about our worship at UUCC—our liturgical year, as relaxed and informal as it mostly is—and what milestones we might more deliberately observe together. Again this fall, we’ll have a remembrance service, and we always celebrate Christmas Eve, and many years our pagan siblings lead us in Solstice celebrations in winter and summer. But what else? (As always, I’m open to your ideas.)
Meantime, I invite you to think about the anniversaries and milestones in your life that deserve your special attention and care.