Chuck Terrill: Find a stump and sit on it

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The days are growing shorter and summer has slipped beyond the horizon.

Trees are now attempting to outdo each other in a display of seasonal glory. I have watched the seasons come and go for a long time now, and it seems like they hurry away much faster than they did sixty years ago. At any rate, autumn is now here.


Fall is my next-to-favorite time of the year. Unfortunately, I am usually so preoccupied with dreading the coming winter that I neglect to enjoy the beauty of autumn exploding around me.

I need to turn over a new leaf. Maybe, a gold or red one. This year, I intend to do my best to enjoy the change of seasons.

If I were in charge of creating new National Holidays I might declare a “National Stump Sitting Day” in late October. To highly pressurized men and women, National Stump Sitting Day might become the most beneficial holiday of the year. 

National Stump Sitting Day would be easy to celebrate. Nature would provide all the necessary decorations. Oak and Maple trees would already be bronzed or red. The noise of all personal electronic devices and internal combustion engines would be outlawed for the day. There would be no televised ball game of any kind. It would be illegal to send a greeting card in honor of the day. Stump sitting is about quiet solitude and meditation.

A crisp autumn day, a Bible, and perhaps a thermos of hot coffee would be the basic requirements. A lawn chair might come in handy as tree stumps become harder and harder to find. 

A thin haze of wood smoke from a small campfire would be a nice touch. With a minimum of preparation, a typical fall day could become a soul-satisfying holiday for harried and tired people. In the solitude of the woods the worries of life might be laid to rest. Big things could become little things and little things could become big things. 

Quiet conversations with those you love could build or mend neglected relationships. Prayer, and meditation on Scripture also have a way of putting things in their proper places.

The danger in celebrating National Stump Sitting Day would be the danger that every other holiday faces, the urge to get up and go do something.

While most of our holidays have become mere excuses for recreation, what I am advocating would be a day for re-creation. Don’t you long for a holiday that is, in truth, a holy day? Trials, troubles, and worries might dissipate through the peculiar, cleansing act of simple stump sitting.  

Pick a day, any day, in late October and declare it as your own “Stump Sitting Day.” You can even pick a day in early November if it takes that long to get your schedule clear.

Find a stump, somewhere in the woods, and sit on it. I think you will be glad that you did.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11.28

Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 471-847-2460.