Changing of seasons brings renewal, transformation

Categorized as Grounds for Insanity column, Rhonda's Posts

Driving into town on a bright, clear day, I see it. To the left, a tall maple with color aflame shouts “glory” from its spot by the road. Turning onto Main Street, I note that the annual decorating contest has begun, for lamp posts up and down are sporting creative displays. Here, now, by the veterinarian’s office. There, just before the bank. And someone, I see, is hard at work, finishing the town library’s display.

Passing the middle school and the funeral home beneath that blue, blue sky, I reach our drive. Turning in, I see that it’s come here, too. The front-yard maple is being transformed, foliage bright, color frosted, with leafy arms spread wide, accepting. Autumn, with its chilly nights and warm, sunny days, is here.

Autumn with its corn stalks and mums and pumpkin displays. Autumn, begging jackets and cider and bowls of popped corn. Autumn, bringing harvest and fields lying barren and shorn. End of summer’s heat. Winter’s lovely prelude. Autumn’s transformation has come.

It was several short weeks ago that I heard it. I’d been thinking over the summer and how sweet it had been. I’d fallen into an odd mood somewhere at summer’s beginning. Suddenly unable to tolerate things as they’d long been, this girl with the red in her hair had switched it up.

After years of driving in to the coffee shop for all creative endeavors, I found I could hardly leave The Three. Instead of my old, familiar place at the high, round table, I went outdoors. Every morning, I’d sling the backpack with the girlish accents over one shoulder, grab a steaming mug and enjoy the sunrise from my spot in the back.

For weeks, I sought solace, stillness and the simple beauty of nature. As the morning sun crested barn’s peak, my thoughts would turn to the Creator. Opening His word, I’d open my ears and heart, listening as sun’s rays kissed the dew, scattering a carpet of diamonds over green.

It’s true that God’s great outside is powerful medicine, is healing balm for one’s inside. And so it was that after weeks of personal retreat, I found myself loathe to give it up and to move on when the summer ended and fall began. And then came the whisper. “It’s time for accepting.”

Change, it seems, is hard for us. We’re creatures of habit, we humans are, and creatures of comfort as well. We like the familiar, the safe and the known, and we want to stay right there. When a particular season’s been so sweet, as summer was for me, we’re reluctant to let it go.

For me, not only had I experienced a time of inner renewal and growth, but my school kids were home. We’d had a wonderful vacation, spent hours at the ballpark and reveled in the whirlwind of summer camps, birthdays and the annual Kaboom. Then the return of the buses, that schedule and the lack of morning light.

In thinking over the changing of seasons, there are several things that come to mind. And the first one is this, that if we are always looking back, reaching for what has passed, we can miss what’s right ahead. In other words, if I insist on clinging to summer and all its goodness, then my hands are too full to take hold of the now.

Fall is here, bringing its own wonder and beauty. I don’t want to miss the special blessings it will bring—lavish color, harvest’s bounty, promise of winter’s rest and hibernation—by hanging on to the past. It’s time, yes, for accepting.

Some seasons in life aren’t so pleasant. I’m thinking that, too, today. Some seasons, in fact, just stink. Filled with pain, uncertainty, loneliness and fears, we flounder for a time in the dark. The early-morning light of summer is gone, and in its place is the cold, bleak landscape of winter. Where, the soul wonders, is God? And past that, is He truly good?

It’s in this time of soul’s dark night that faith takes its root, burrows deep. And finds that even here, He’s faithful. Faith only grows with its testing, we know, and a faith untried will not withstand life’s storms. For the stormy seasons, we need a winter faith.

The other thing I know about life’s seasons is this, that the harshest winter cannot extinguish seed’s promise. Cannot hold back the return of the spring. Soul’s spring follows winter’s freeze just as surely as the tide’s ebb and flow, and joy always comes in the morning.

Whatever season of life we find ourselves in, we can know this one thing sure: God is there. In our summers, our springs, our winters and autumns, we, His children, are never, ever out of His care. In accepting the winter and fall’s transformation, a harvest eternal will come, and our faith will shine forth as pure gold.

In every season, there’s much good we can do. He is faithful and true, and summer, it will always return. Happy fall!

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