I know I’m not alone in loving this time of year. The return of football and pumpkin everything, fragrant warm beverages and cozy sweaters, riding boots and blue jeans – it’s the most delightful season. As the warmth of summer gives way to cooler days (In Oklahoma it’s 80 instead of 100…not quite as lovely as a Northeast fall, but I’ll take it!), I’m savoring what makes this season so lovely as we settle into my favorite quarter of the year.
We know that seasons are simply that – a season. A finite period of time. Seasons do not last forever; they flow seamlessly into the next, marking time or a mood or a sequence of events. Our lives are full of seasons – joy and growth, sadness and struggle, excitement and possibility, uncertainty and fear. With each passing season, we learn more about who we are and what we are capable of, who we can count on and what brings us fulfillment.
Some of the biggest changes in my life have occurred during the fall: moving from Pittsburgh to Pensacola, getting married, moving from Pensacola to Oklahoma, beginning this whole deployment thing, just to name a few. I take some comfort in the fact that as my life went through these drastic shifts, the universe was reminding me that change was all around me. I wasn’t alone. Change brings hope and opportunity, change can be good.
As I weathered some of these transitions, I didn’t always feel fully myself or fully connected. There were plenty of moments I longed for what used to be, what was familiar and comfortable. Over the years I’ve learned to make the most of where I am, to invest fully into the people and the community where I find myself, to accept the things I cannot change. I’ve learned that sometimes relationships only last for a season or two, but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful or meaningful. I’ve learned that even though we can try to prepare ourselves for the unexpected, we can find ourselves in a season we didn’t see coming. Change isn’t always welcome, but that doesn’t keep it from happening.
A tree may lose its leaves in the fall, but you know what? It will grow new ones in the spring. Although they may appear to be the same as the ones from years prior, they are not. At its core, the tree is constant, but there is always change in its leaves. And the same holds true for us. There may be deeply rooted values and attributes that make up our core, but as the seasons change, we change. Our schedules, our priorities, our hopes, our challenges, our community, and our attitudes all impact the season we find ourselves in. Whether we find ourselves at peace with our circumstances or shaking our fists at the universe, one thing is for certain: this too shall pass.