Cherry Pickin’s September 2023

Cherry Pickin’s 2023

I had the good fortune to find myself commuting behind a student driver recently – likely one of their first tentative treks behind the wheel. I could feel the mix of anxiety and awareness that was emanating from the other car during the short time we traveled together.

It was ‘good fortune’ because it reminded me of the benefits of cultivating a ‘‘beginner’s mind’’ or shoshin as it’s known in Zen Buddhism. Whether driving on Main St. or traveling the Noble Eightfold Path, these guideposts are worth noticing:


  • Slow down.
  • Listen to mentors.
  • Concentrate.
  • Be courageous, even when afraid.
  • Notice what’s happening around you.
  • Be curious, and learn.

The experience with the student driver also brought back a memory of my own first miles behind the wheel.  I was 14 or 15 years old and my father had suffered an accident with the lawn mower that required a visit to the emergency room.  Even though the driving I’d ever done was in a parking lot, he told me to get behind the wheel and be careful.   Off we went, and we arrived at the ER uneventfully.   Why we didn’t just call an ambulance, I don’t know.  But, all turned out well.  It turns out that “Beginners Mind” isn’t just an interesting idea, it can serve as a strategy.

As we embark upon a new church year together, let’s make the most of the precious community that we call our spiritual home.  Let’s embrace the joy to be found. Let’s express the gratitude that we feel.  Let’s surround the needs in our midst with compassion and love.  And, whether Westminster has been your church for 50 years or 5 minutes, let’s see how ‘Beginner’s Mind’ can add to the blessings of our community.

In Faith and Service,

Rev. Eric

PS -I hope everyone is looking forward to being together for our annual ‘Homecoming and Water Communion’ service on September 10th. I sure am!  See you in church.