Let Go

It’s time to admit that Summer is over, and fall is settling in. The morning air is crisp and the leaves are beginning to fall. You know the feeling of a season about to change, like it’s instinct. It feels programmed in us.

In Chicago, I had a teeny, tiny balcony off the back of my apartment. I bought one of those $5 basket weave lawn chairs, unfolded it and sat out there every evening. I would dream about having a yard some day where the girls could run and play. I wanted to throw a blanket on the lawn and watch them chase each other. I bought a dark green, plastic flower box and attached it to the railing. After spending hours at a local nursery, I spent all of our disposable income filling that box with mums. Purple and orange. Planting those mums filled me with a peace I hadn’t experienced before. Those mums made me feel like everything was going to be okay, even though I would soon be graduating from seminary and we would have no job. No money. No home. (We were living in seminary housing.) The fear of the unknown was paralyzing, and seeing those mums out my backdoor calmed my anxious bones.

As I scooped dirt into the box, gently pulled the mums out of their containers and transplanted them, I began to realize the way that I experience God is through the creation. When my fingers are under the dirt, when my knees are pressing into the earth, when I am planting and working with God’s creation, I physically feel God. Time and space and all things stand still, and it is God and I caring for his creation together.

Right now the leaves are changing and beginning to fall. Soon the trees will be bare and everything will turn brown. The air will feel bitter and harsh. Our hearts will ache for the next season, as darkness seems to overpower the light. But we cannot rush it. We have to let go of what was and wait for what is to come.

God designed this world to operate in seasons. You and I are designed this way too. Spring has so much potential as things begin to bud and the sun gives more light to the days. In the summer there is a warmth and continuation as everything becomes what it was meant to be. And when that time begins to feel hot and long there is a merciful cooling that comes with fall, when we reap the harvest of our work and reflect on how the days have become vibrant and colorful. And in the winter it is all covered over with cold and snow and everything rests as we wait for the cycle to begin again. There is no spring without winter. There cannot be resurrection without death. New life cannot spring up without the dying of the old.

What do you need to let go this fall?