This past summer's extreme heat and drought robbed us of so much greenery and lushness that Handsome and I truly did not expect to enjoy our usual colorful Oklahoma autumn. We kind of jokingly (insert bitterness here) thought that we would wake up one day to naked trees, just bark wrapped limbs that had surrendered to the dry, cold air. We had preemptively accepted one big, overnight leap from a brutal summer to a dismal winter.
So imagine our surprise when we started noticing the alleys of brilliant reds, oranges, and golds, hundreds of trees glowing with life and quietly touched by the Creator's hand.
What a wonderful gift of mercy and love,
that when we actively expected the worst,
God gave us the best!
Anyway, this really has my attention, because I know that the intense display of saturated color can only last so long. We should enjoy it daily, pressing it for every ounce of pleasure and awe these blessings are worth. Because the time will soon come when tree limbs cannot help but stand naked again. We will be shrouded in heavy coats and neutral landscapes, daydreaming of single blades of green grass.
"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns."
~George Elliot (19th century English novelist)
The Bible uses the seasons metaphor prolifically, reminding us there is a natural rhythm to life. Regardless of who we are or what our unique circumstances are, change is inevitable. Growth, loss, conflict, bonding, new beginnings, revitalization, pain, and even decay are all ingredients of a full human experience. Knowing that most things are only here for a season causes me to pay attention. Understanding that the nature of most exposure is temporary reminds me to...
- Genuinely enjoy passion and romance every single time it blooms.
- Capitalize on my physical health and strength while I have it and work to maintain these gifts.
- Make better use of swells of time and energy. Not all weekdays are created equal, after all!
- Be patient in loneliness and learn to profit from silence.
- See jealously for what it really is and grow from that.
- Maintain a longer view in troubles, not living shortsighted and expecting problems to be resolved quickly. Do not take short cuts to a perceived solution because of emotional impatience. There is a reason for this trial, and it is not all about me.
- Love, love, love the people who are in my life today, right now at this moment. Be fully present for them and appreciate them. Love them, love them, love them.
- Redeem the time, every day, no matter what it brings you, no matter what the need.
- Be conscious of pain and regret but do not wallow in it. Pain is a signal to be heeded, not something that always calls for escape and numbing. God, who is infinitely wiser and stronger than me, can use unpleasantness to improve me. He is the Master artist and engineer, able to redeem us out of sin and turn death literally into life. He can turn pain into joy.
- Enjoy my blessings and abundance, not wasting them out of shame or false humility.
I watch these groves of maple, pear, oak, blackjack, and pecan trees pulse with life and color, undaunted by their cycles. I know that everything is bound to pass away, both the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the pleasant and the painful. If I were to live only in my memories of summertime or only in my dread of winter, then I would miss out on the astounding beauty of autumn, which is so brief.
Whatever you're going through right now, know that there is a purpose for it, probably many purposes at once. Every season brings with it the opportunity for both improvement and pleasure. Accept your mixed gifts with joy. Count your blessings. Keep your troubles in perspective and train yourself to profit from them. Be present in the moment. Open your eyes to beauty. Breathe deeply and feel the rhythm of life.
Happy Fall Ya'll!