Breaking the Fall
Recently, I was talking with a friend about why we enjoy fall. There is something about the chill in the air, the sweaters, the brilliant sunsets (slightly different from summer). But there is something else, something that we struggled to put our fingers on.
There is a hint of death in the air.
Beautifully, leaves are cut off from life-giving chlorophyl, they turn all colors, disconnect from the tree keeping them alive, and plunge to the ground to be crunched underfoot.
Somehow, as it grows cold and we approach winter each year, I still manage to find beauty in the death all around me, littering the ground quite literally.
I have learned in my years on earth that fall is not the end. Death comes, but life comes after. Spring never ceases to break through the snow, making the road impassable by sledge. The witch loses her power.
Fall reminds me that transition, illness, difficulty and sorrow, yes, even death, are not final. Also, if I'm paying attention, I can see the glow: the extravagant, glorious picture of a life lived with abandon, smiling in the face of death, knowing that it has no power.
Fall is not itself without spring. Each season is informed by the other, not whole without all of the pieces of the year. I find each season to be almost as much about the other seasons as it is about itself.
So it is with my life.
In difficult seasons, I hold tightly to the promise of the next one, but also to the truth of the beauty inherent, even in death, freezing, and falling. In seasons filled with life, rejoicing and peace, I store up those things within myself, knowing that I will need them later, when all has gone cold.
It is precisely this paradox which keeps me going: there is beauty in the brokenness; the leaves fall and die and decompose, the Lord brings new life into the trees once again, in due time.