I love fall in the eastern US. The weather often jumps between Indian summer (warm) and a crisp chill. The trees are filled with a rainbow of colors. In the soft sunlight of an early sunset, everything seems to slow. I find my heart filled with a still peace. There is little fear of the long dark nights that will some consume our days. I do not sense any regret for the loss of the long, fun filled summer days. Rather, it is a quiet respite in the normal cycles of living.
Falls are crucial periods in the cycles of living. The colors celebrate the long growing season exploding in expected and unexpected ways. They also mark a preparation for the season to come. For many, the harvest this year has been good. Yet, in the midst of the harvest, I fear that wonder and beauty of it all is being lost in the turmoil of a perfect storm. Are we willing to celebrate the blessings we already have in hand? Can we enjoy the moment that is, no matter what it brings? Will we live in the present so that we can be prepared for the future?
The cycles of life bring joy and sadness, hope and despair, wonder and fear. I long for a day when evil is unknown. Until then, we live with the paradox found in the battle between good and evil. When bad things happen, we want to hide in our shells. “During the time Peter was in the area she became sick and died. Her friends prepared her body for burial and put her in a cool room.” (Acts 9.37) We want to morn, not live. We want to cry, not celebrate. We want to retreat not step forward.
God invites us into the present. We can embrace and remember our sorrows, letting ourselves be richer for living. We can see the pain and anguish, knowing that it is an invitation to compassion and mercy. We can, if we choose.
God longs for the day with unending births. Me too.
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