As predicted by the weather forecast, the crisp morning air smelled like Fall. Face Book friends took pictures in their favorite sweaters holding mugs of hot cider announcing their pleasure with the change of the season. A certain lightness hung in the air, humidity moved into hibernation and the sky seemed oh, so blue. Autumn has come.
Pumpkin pie spiced candles, coffee creamers, lattes and ice cream celebrate the season's entrance. The Creator's paint pallet comes out and the leaves wear colorful coats before falling to the ground and dancing in the breeze. The crunch of fallen leaves, the touch of heavy dew and the smell of bonfires all sing to the beauty and the contentedness of Autumn.
Each season has its own unique characteristics. People experience those characteristics in different ways. I have friends who really dislike Fall, because it predicts the coming of Winter. Some friends really don't like Spring because it's gloomy and rainy. Some of my friends love every season for each has its own beauty. Some spend little time noticing or caring about the season change. Regardless of their response to the season, they cannot avoid experiencing it.
Just as the seasons change in our environment, so the seasons change in our lives. We cannot avoid or change the seasons we experience. They come without permission and without announcement. Seasons of joy, seasons of grief, seasons of pain, seasons of growth, seasons of testing, seasons of rest...each requires a response. We may not like the season in which we find ourselves. We might find that it requires more energy or attention than we'd like to give. We might have to make some major adjustments. We might struggle to find meaning or hope in a season.
Just as the leaves change color in Autumn, every season of our lives requires change. The Creator who uses his pallet to change the seasons from Summer to Fall, also uses his goodness to change the seasons of our lives. Each season, whether filled with heartache or filled with joy brings us face to face with the reality that God never stops engaging his world and never stops caring for his children. You might say that He doesn't seem to know what He's doing--the world is in turmoil and your life is in shambles. Yes, sometimes we are truly unable to see anything good from our vantage point.
But our vantage point is only the distance we can see coupled with our perception of what is good. Just like my friends who have varying opinions about the season changes, the reality is that if seasons didn't change, crops would not grow, birds would not have the wind currents on which to fly South for winter protection. The water table would not be adequate without rain and snow. Dead seeds would not resurrect in the moist soil of the Spring to bring new life. There is always a reason, always a greater plan, always a purpose for blessing and renewal.
I think I'll take the time to enjoy the soft glow of the Autumn sun, the crisp breeze and the rustling of leaves. I think I'll take time to appreciate the reds and golds of the trees as they don their Fall wardrobe. I might even find a fine harvest apple and dip it in sweet caramel or carve a pumpkin. I think I'll take in all the beauty of what today holds--in this season--for another season is not promised. And if I am blessed to see it come, it will hold treasures all its own. And while I'm enjoying this season, I'll choose to accept whatever season God brings into my life. He doesn't need to make an announcement or ask my permission. He has promised to walk with me through it, to strengthen me in it and to bring me out of it like pure gold. That's good enough for me.
"To everything there is a season, and a time and a purpose under Heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1
Shelley Lopez, Executive Director
Shelley has been a member of the Springfield community for 29 years. As she lives and works and worships in the city, she uses the metaphor of an old Victorian house restoration to keep her focused on the work she is called to do. Inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah, she pours herself into "restoring old ruins, rebuilding and renovating, making the community livable again" (Is. 58:12 MSG)