Autumn thoughts on winter

by sarahmfry, October 29, 2017

Photo by Adarsh Kummur

I was looking out my kitchen window at some beautiful autumn leaves and bare branches.  And thinking of what we hear so often about autumn being the season of letting go.  And how beautiful that is, to let go.... blah blah blah.  Letting go of things is painful and hard and most of us don't do it very gracefully, to be honest.  We ugly cry and thrash around a bit first.  And by we I mean me, of course.

Pretty sure the leaves don't choose to let go.  The wind and the rain and the chilly changes knock them around until they just fall.  And die. 

They die.  They lay there and get covered up and turn back into dirt.

But I was actually thinking more about what happens after the letting go. After the beautiful letting go and the ugly dying.  There is barrenness.  Branches and twigs all sharp and gangly and naked against the vivid blue and murky grey autumn skies. 

Next is Winter. 

And frankly, if you live in Indiana, you never know WHAT in the world winter might bring.  It might snow once in October and then not again until February and snow its brains out until Easter!  And I'm not even exaggerating - can I get a witness from the Hoosiers? 

And the whole time, the branches are barren and ugly and worthless.

And I thought about how sometimes I feel like gangly branch - barren and ugly and worthless.  Sometimes there are those seasons, you know?  And you dream of sometime having the new bright green bursts of fruitfulness popping out all over.  But right now you're just....kinda hanging in there and not really accomplishing much?

Sometimes that looks like:
Dishes and laundry and laundry and dishes.
Being displaced.  And not in a fun way.
Having things removed from your life.
Losing relationships.
Losing loved ones.
Losing health.
Death of dreams.
Sense of failure.
Loss of identity.
Feeling stuck.

You can fill in the blanks.

So what in the world are we supposed to do during the harsh loneliness of winter?

1.  Hang in there. 

Be the best naked branch you can be. Do the next thing. Take the next step.  Be present.

2.  Focus inward. 

Winter is a powerful cycle for nature.  It allows new life that simply could not happen without the freeze.  I want to allow these winter times to draw me inward, to the steadfast work of my core.  Looking after things and putting them into place.  Letting quiet set things right.

3.  Rest. 

It gives me great comfort to think of the quiet, frozen winters of life as seasons of rest.  I love harvest in the Midwest.  There is a flurry of activity that is thrilling and exhausting.  (In our churches, homes and the fields around them!)  I really believe that in God's great economy of rest, sometimes he brings seasons into our lives that are meant to be quiet and restful.  But we perceive them as failure or boredom.


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