Embracing the Beauty of Autumn
Navigate Life’s Seasons with Grace and Resilience
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, John 12:25-26, and James 5:7-8
I have a confession to make. As of this month, I now use a large print Bible. I have needed one for a while, but it took me time to realize that I had been putting the Word UP TO MY FACE to read it, and it still wasn't precisely legible. So, I had to come to grips with the search. After a loooong process of trying and returning, as I wanted a NASV with space for side notes, I found what had to be acceptable.
In other words, they don't exist -- and "comfort print" does NOT mean I can read it. *facepalm* So ... I had to settle for one that did NOT have ample space for side notes because it would make the Bible vast and cumbersome, but that was very comfortably legible ... and I can read it from my lap and not three inches from my face.
At first, I was somewhat upset when it arrived. I opened it up and inside were, IN VERY LARGE LETTERS, a reminder that it is a "super, giant print Bible" (yes, that is what it is called!) and it echoed in my head, "YOU HAVE A LARGE PRINT BIBLE NOW, OLD GIRL!" Wait, I'm not that old! I am 'only' 55, but macro degeneration got the best of me (thanks, heredity). So yeah, I know it's large print. Do I have to be reminded? Can't I rip out the page that reminds me whenever I open it?
Sigh. Good grief.
I walked through the yard yesterday, picking pretty leaves that had accumulated but looked like something I could use on a guest table. Then I sat on my porch and opened my super giant print Bible.
As the little yellow leaves from the front yard tree gracefully danced across the porch and driveway, I was reminded of the arrival of autumn in both nature and the "autumn of life." And I realized, having lost both of my parents in the last few years, that this might be me. Just like these leaves, we, too, experience seasons of change. Just as their bright green colour fades, our energy and vibrancy may diminish. Or, in my case, my sight. Okay, I have a lot of energy, and I DO create digital products and write emails and work from my (ahem) very large-screen computer, but I know my limits, and my eyes remind me. These leaves fall almost as quickly as they change, reminding us of the fleeting nature of life.
In this context, I am reminded of the scripture from Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, which says, "For everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest." Just as the tree listens to its Maker and gracefully sheds its decayed leaves, we, too, must learn to let go of things that no longer serve us to embrace the new season of our lives.
So I let go of trying desperately to use my beloved, regular print NASV, with notes from years and years written all over it, as an incredibly helpful tool because it smashed up to my face and was frustrating to read.
As I reflect on this, even though I can't help but sometimes roll my eyes at the first page, I am grateful for my large print Bible, a physical reminder of the wisdom and guidance we can find in the Word of God. Just like the tree shedding its leaves, we can turn to our Maker for direction and strength as we navigate the different seasons of life.
Autumn is an apt metaphor for the different seasons of life we traverse. Much like the cycle of seasons in nature, our life is punctuated by growth, harvest, shedding, and renewal periods. During spring, akin to our youth, we sprout with potential and possibilities, much like budding leaves on the trees. The vigour of this season fades slowly into summer - the period of our lives marked by maturity and full bloom, where we bear the fruit of our labours.
But then, autumn arrives, ushering in its unique beauty. Once vibrant and green, the leaves transition into a kaleidoscope of hues, signifying change and transformation. This stage can be equated with the autumn of our lives, where we, like the trees, shed what no longer serves us. It might be a time of letting go, surrendering to change and accepting the natural flow of life.
It's in this acceptance we find the beauty of autumn. The leaves may fall, but they pave the way for new growth. Similarly, as we embrace our own 'autumns,' we make room for new experiences and wisdom. This cyclical process of life and nature reminds us of the transient nature of all things and encourages us to appreciate every season's unique beauty and lessons. As we transition into winter, the season of rest and introspection, our faith and hope in spring's return keep us going. So, just as the trees stand tall through all seasons, may we, too, find the strength to navigate through our own life's seasons with grace and resilience.
Ultimately, it is in our surrender to the seasons of life that we find peace and joy. When we embrace change with an open heart and mind, accepting the highs of victory and defeat as opportunities for growth, we begin to bear much fruit. As Jesus said in John 12:25-26, "The person who loves his life will lose it, while the person who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." By submitting to the process of renewal and death - physical, mental, and spiritual - we find a greater truth in our lives. Let us use this fall season as an opportunity to let go of what no longer serves us so that we may bear much fruit and reflect the beauty of Jesus Christ outward to others.
Let me read to you from my SUPER GIANT PRINT Bible ... that I love:
"Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until [a]it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near." James 5:7-8, NASB
As I sit on my porch and watch the autumn leaves dance, I am reminded of the power of letting go - not just for myself but also for those around me. May we all use this autumn to become more like our Maker, embracing change with grace and resilience.
Let us welcome the autumn season with open arms and hearts, finding beauty in nature and our lives. May we not forget to listen to our Maker and gracefully surrender what is holding us back - making room for new beginnings and growth!
In the same way that nature offers us a glimpse at the power of change, let us use this season as an opportunity to reflect, give thanks and surrender ourselves to the beauty of transformation. May we be better equipped to face our autumns with grace and resilience!
Fun fact: while I usually have a professional do my web photos, the top cover image is actually my new Bible in my backyard... ;0)