07 Nov Seasons, Leaves, Letting Go, & Rest
In the past week children dressed in costumes of all varieties rang my front door bell, anticipating a treat; daylight savings time ended; I raked my first bag of leaves in the backyard; I switched to long pants for my outdoor exercise; and iced tea has given way to the hot variety in my household. Clearly, something is afoot.
Change is a constant in our lives. Some changes, like the changing seasons, occur with regularity and help give life its rhythm. Other changes are unexpected and can run the gamut from thrilling (you receive a surprising gift, perhaps) to devastating (the untimely death of a loved one.) I have been on both ends of that spectrum, receiving news that upended my life in a single moment—sometimes for the good and occasionally in heartbreaking ways. Such is the human experience.
The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to appreciate the changing seasons. There is beauty in each of them; holidays and traditions that belong to one but not the others; foods, sports, and events that are specific to each one in its turn. Beyond the external changes—the temperature moving up or down, the change in precipitation type, the differences in wardrobe that are required—I appreciate the metaphors and lessons that can be found in each season.
Right now, for example, I look out the window and watch leaves falling from the trees, sometimes a single leaf at a time, sometimes by the hundreds if the wind has kicked up. I watch this annual phenomenon and I wonder, is there something I need to let go of, to drop or shed in order to grow? Is there fear or worry or resentment to which I am clinging that is holding me back, preventing me from experiencing peace and joy? Am I suspicious of others or prideful or self-centered? Am I stuck in habits that negatively impact my emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical health?
Once trees lose their leaves, they remain in a state of dormancy through the winter. Stripped bare of all greenery, it appears that nothing is happening, but that’s not the case at all. Being dormant is a tree’s form of rest. As with all living things, rest is necessary to sustain life and growth. Again, I ask myself, am I getting the message? Am I careful to include rest as part of my regular rhythm of life? Too often we tell ourselves that there is no time to slow down because the demands of modern life never let up. That’s true, they don’t. Which is why it is more important than ever that we foster deep rest for body, soul, mind, and spirit on a regular basis which is exactly what Scripture prescribes for us when it invites us to observe a weekly Sabbath.
All this talk (or writing, as the case may be) about seasons and leaves, letting go and rest has conjured up an image for me of a steaming mug of caramel apple cider, warm socks and pajamas, and a plaid fluffy blanket. Want to guess what I’ll be doing tonight?
Yours for the Kingdom,