There is something about the Fall. Maybe it’s the crispness that comes back into the air, driving out the steamy grip of summer’s humidity; the subtle change in the way the light cuts through the sky, ever-so-slightly changing the way we see. Or it could be the ramp-up of vibrant reds, yellows, and golds before the onset of a long, gray winter. Perhaps it’s the cool mornings and evenings bookending the (mostly) warm days. How amazing that the change from the warmth and life of summer to the long, cold march of winter should be marked by so much glory and pomp! It has long been my favorite season.
With most things in life, the passage of time brings memories of years gone by, relationships and places that once were, but are no more. When they come back around, they stir up memories and mile-markers (or Ebenezers, if you want to go all Old Testament and hymn-y) of the life we’ve lived. For us, for my family, Fall now brings reminders of the NC State Fair, and trips to the Blue Ridge mountains, of Mule Days in Benson and college football. Now, however, the cool weather and turning of the leaves bring reminders of how we stepped out into the unknown, reminders of the passing of one season of life and the beginning of a new one.
That Fall two years ago was a welcome release in many ways, yet it also carried much struggle and toil with it. Fall, as a season, begins the process of dying to what was long before the light of spring appears. Without those struggles, without the stripping bare of the leaves of our lives, we simply would not be who we are today. Without those trials, we would not have realized our immense need for Jesus, nor rediscovered the wonder of His love. For this to happen, for new growth to occur, the old had to go. It had to die.
And die it did.
Slowly, over the last two years, many things have fallen away. Some were shed quite easily; others, not so much, like those pesky leaves that shrivel but just won’t let go of the limb. Sometimes, it takes some wind, some storms even, to knock those loose.
The thing is, the seasons don’t stop. They come and go. Just as Winter turns to Spring, and Spring to Summer, and so on, in a never-ending cycle, our lives go through seasons. We are in a new season now, with things budding and beginning, like Spring…but there will be a Fall again. There will be changes, beauty, struggle, joy, pain, loss…it is part of our lot, in this fallen world, until Jesus’ kingdom fully comes.
So if you find yourself in a Fall of your own right now, look for the beauty and joy in the midst of the pain. Rake the leaves, not as toil but rather as the necessary work that clears the way for the new growth of Spring. Prep for winter, with an eye to summer. Live in the midst of the season, knowing “this too shall pass.”