“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
After sixteen years of living in Colorado, I have finally decided that FALL is my favorite season of the year here. Let me be more specific…EARLY fall is my favorite season. You walk outside one morning and there’s that cooler crisper smell in the air. Summer is still trying to hold on but clearly getting pushed out of the way by football games and pumpkin spice.
What really does it for me is the magnificent canvas of colored leaves adorning the trees throughout the neighborhoods as I drive across town! My wife, Missy and I tend to have the same brilliant idea every year of tooling through the mountains to scope out the aspen trees as they glow bright yellow, but this was the first season to actually carve out the time to make that happen. I surprised her last month with a quick day trip drive southwest of us, and it ended up being such a timely God-given moment of soul therapy for the both of us! If I’m remembering correctly, she tends to favor the bright red leaves while my favorite has to be the trees w/ a yellow layer that fades into an incandescent burnt orange. I’m clearly no arborist, or I would be more apt to just say the name of said tree. It’s just brilliant that God would create such beauty to absorb right before the winter cold sets in. A recent social media post by a friend said, “Autumn is God’s way of reminding us of the beauty in letting go.” Such a great way of looking at it!
I told my wife the other day that the leaves are so beautiful…until they’re not! She knew what I was referring to immediately. We are surrounded by neighbors whose trees dump their leaves into our yard each year, and somehow living on the corner of an intersection creates this vortex during every windstorm that brings every leaf in the area to our front yard! Like I said, the leaves are pretty until they’re not!
With the consistency of change we experience in the seasons every year, it’s a wonder that so many of us still profusely struggle with change. Our physical bodies change with each passing year, our relationships change as those near us move away, and we are forever reminded of yet another election where “change” is the ultimate promise given by each candidate. Next weekend we have to set the few analog clocks we still have in the house because of the seasonal time change. At least we get that beloved hour to stay up a little later than we would have normally! So, why do we continue to feel this internal pushback to change? What makes us want to hold on to the present moment, condition or experience so intensely? I have found myself wrestling with this thought. Maybe it’s because we know that the present is a gift, and we carry uncertainty of what tomorrow might bring. Maybe it’s another season that moves us farther away from the good-old-days we once enjoyed. But truth be told, as the wise philosopher, Axl Rose penned in the 90’s, “nothing lasts forever”. I personally think that “change” IS the only constant in life.
I think that King Solomon was on to something in his writings captured in the book of Ecclesiastes. Some may think it was The Byrds who coined the phrase, but it was actually written so many years before their hit song by a king who understood that seasons consistently come and go. And it is our perspective of these changes that ultimately makes all the difference in welcoming it with open arms or giving it the proverbial stiff arm. How much more peace and joy could be present if we looked on with anticipation of what was next versus the typical anxiety that tries to hold us captive?
The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippine church, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (4:6) Whatever is causing that pressure in your chest, make the active choice to talk to God about it today. Cast your care on Him as it says elsewhere in scripture, because He truly cares for you. Don’t let fear get in the way of what could become your greatest season yet.