Autumn is here in all its glory! The air is cold and our Northeastern forests, hills, and mountains are on fire with color. Deep reds, oranges, and yellows cover the horizon on the highway. It’s almost time for another semester to come to a quick close, much sooner than we think. Our jobs get busier, and the Holiday rush closes in on the heels of Thanksgiving. Just a little bit busier than you’d like? Are you losing it?
So are those forests, hills, and mountains. They lay down their leaves, baring themselves until springtime. See, they’re not dead when the leaves fall down. They’re just opening up to the reality of what is happening around them. The season is changing, and so are they. Come springtime, they’ll be green and vibrant as ever! Offering what they can via air, flowers, shade, fruit, and a spot for a swing or hammock.
Autumn might be the perfect time to stop a moment and ask “What can I lay down? Can I take a look at the real me? And when I lay it down, what will grow in my springtime?” It takes time, it takes honesty, and most importantly, it takes relationship.
None of us can survive on our own, and it would be silly to think we could. Just like trees are one part of the larger ecosystem, we each come from a wider family, community, and society. As their leaves feed the earth, whatever we lay down can be a blessing to someone else.
God is calling us to wake up in Autumn to that which we can leave behind. In Ecclesiastes 3 we read about a “time” for so many things. For the cycle of life to be lived with the richness of different emotions, experiences, relationships, work, and worship.
We hear the call to give thanks and enjoy all of this, as hard as it is sometimes. In the midst of pain, in the midst of suffering, there is something common to each one of us. Our humanity. Our blessed creation in God’s image, and our struggle to live in a world that is hurting.
As we follow the example of the trees, let’s not forget to go easy on ourselves. The call is to change, not to beat ourselves up. When we lay something down and offer it to God, this gives us space and energy to focus on that which excites us and gives us life! To enter into that springtime, we have to have fall and winter first. And those seasons are necessary… so don’t try and skip them. They contain just as much beauty as the springtime we wait for.
What will you lay down? What does God see? What do you see?