"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Henry Beston spent 1928 living in a little grey-shingled one-room house on the far windswept dunes of the Outer Beach of Cape Cod. He spent the year watching, listening, as the constellations, storms and tides, came and went.
It all sounded so "romantic" to me as a kid, but I have come to learn that the "Outermost House" is not an easy to place to go, but one where many get thrust, by the storms and changes of life.
Some of us discover that it will take a journey of solitude in order to reach the next season of our lives. For others, a crisis thrusts us out here alone where we did not plan to be.
For his part, Henry Beston loved talking about the "idea" of a year in his "Outermost House" but it took his fiancé to get him there. She told him she wouldn't marry him until he spent this year letting the seasons do their work in him and writing his book, The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod.
Will we let this season do its work in us? To trust that the Living, Creating, Renewing One's hand is truly at work in "the warm mild weather of home" and in "all this cold" as well.
In this season, God, may we join the company of those who have listened and watched the turning of the days and found in them your hand of grace. Amen.
Peter Ilgenfritz is a Minister and Member of the Leadership Staff at University Congregational United Church of Christ, Seattle, Washington.