Friday, October 14, 2011

A New Twist on the Changing Season


Fall is normally my very favorite time of year for one reason: in the Pacific NW, some of the trees turn beautiful colors of orange and red in the midst of evergreen trees that stay green all year long. It's incredibly beautiful, especially, when you take a drive down the gorge, around Mt. Hood area or even up around the Olympic peninsula.

Not that a person has to go for a drive in those areas to be in awe over the beauty during this time of year. Pretty much each street will be painted in vibrant colors as the leaves change color before dropping.

Besides being beautiful, fall is so cozy. The weather cools just enough to be able to wear old comfy jeans and, at night, to put on a favorite sweater or sweatshirt.

And high school football is underway. So a person can have fun huddling with other fans on cold rock-hard bleachers on a chilly night watching the game. I have some sweet memories of doing that when my nephews played football and when I was in high school. Now some of my friends have boys at that age.

People start to be indoors a bit more. New Bible studies start, and classes at school begin. And then, right after this wonderful time of year, is the holiday season.

But this year, I had a hard time letting go of summer. It's said quite a bit around the Pacific NW that we didn't really get a summer this year, and technically it's true. This year, the temperatures didn't blast us with heat, where a person was forced to go from one air-conditioned place to another or stay in a pool of water.

For me, though, it was perfect. Many busy days were spent outdoors and at the pool enjoying my daughter and her friends and my own friends without getting scorched. The days were busy and fast, and when school started I wasn't ready for the end of the season. I wanted more active days of summer, because it was my favorite summer in a long time.

Now that fall is here, I'm starting to enjoy it. But I still really miss those summer days. In fact, I can think of many seasons in my life that I just didn't want to let go of, but I had to, because it was time to move into another season of my life.

One of the hardest changes of seasons for me includes friends. One year a very dear friend of mine announced that she and her family were moving to another state. It hit me right in the gut. I thoroughly enjoyed this friend. Because of the type of group we had met in, she was a friend I could tell anything to, even if I was completely thinking wrong. She'd listen, her wise words would help straighten my thinking, and she'd encourage my faith. She was fun to shop with, go to movies or out to coffee with.

Then the day came when she was gone. I cried for three days straight and stayed sad for quite awhile. I still get excited when I get to see her in person, which isn't often. We have the opportunity to talk on the phone. But it's not the same as being there.

I've had to do this with quite a few friends over the years. When I was in elementary school, it seemed every year my best friend moved, and I had to find a new best friend. One year I moved.

It's hard to let go of a season of daily interaction with a friend and move into a season of phone calls or an internet social site to keep up the relationship.

Another season of change in relationships I've dealt with is saying good-bye to friends or relatives who pass on. It's especially hard if I've watched them battle an illness such as cancer, and I pray and pray for them and know there are many others battling for this person's life in prayer also. And then one day, that person is gone. Sometimes I've been in a store or a church and there, in front of me, will be someone who closely resembles the person I'd known who passed away. Seeing that person's face brings back such sweet memories that I have to curb the impulse to go up to that lookalike, just to make sure.

Truth is, nobody ever replaces anyone in my heart. People leave such huge holes when they're gone. But gradually a new way of living without that person directly in my life starts to build. The next day it's a little stronger. Though the picture of the loved ones is gone, it still hangs on the memory wall of my heart.

But I'm starting to think of the seasons this way: Going from the fun season of summer, to a comforting and sometimes changing season of fall, to a long, cold, bitter, hurting season of winter, always leads to the promise of spring, and a new season of rebirth. Through the changes of the seasons, God is consistent to bring about new life and new hopes, no matter what we go through.

This fall, as I cozy up to my computer, or sit over a cup of coffee with a friend, or dress in a comfy sweatshirt and jeans and hang outside with my family, I'm learning to enjoy the moments I have in each season.

Seasons change, things in life change, so I take time to build my life on the one "not changing" foundation: Jesus. He is never changing. The same yesterday, today, and forever. And that is what I build my life on.

(edited by Ramona Tucker)
This post can also be seen on http://blogs.christianpost.com/bindings/2011/10/ by OakTara where you can read some other incredible blog postings.

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