Romans 8: 24-25 It is with this hope that we are saved. Now to see something is to no longer hope; why hope for what is already seen? But if we hope for something we do not yet see, then we look forward to it eagerly and with patience.
September is the season of change. It is a season of faith and hope. A time of patience while at the same time a time of eagerly looking forward with expectations to the future. It is a strange time of now and future.
It is a season that brings us an abundance of food and at the same time it is a harbinger of scarcity. There is a final burst of growth and offerings and then a letting go. Things begin to die away. We too enjoy now and abundance, but also there is a feeling of preparation and loss.
We all feel it. The carefree days of summer are behind us and shifting into a time of order. It’s an odd time of slowing down and speeding up. It’s the beginning of the school year, full of all the hopes and dreams and aspirations that brings. Even as adults, this time of year has been ingrained in us as a time of new hope and new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s a time of tuning back in to healthy routines for learning and study.
We learn and relearn to let go. Closing up the gardens and making preparations for winter. Closing up cabins and packing away the camping gear. Taking our toes out of the water and packing away the summer clothes. Letting go of control and letting things die to begin anew in the future. Change.
While there is hope and a looking forward, it is a season that forces patience. We can not change what is to come. The season, the times, of letting go and death are inevitable. But death for renewal and resurrection. Autumn is, in many ways, a reflection of the crucifixion. Death to be born anew.
Look at the Cross. Look at the trees.
The trees are turning inward and downward. No longer are they reaching for the sun and the moon and skies. No longer are they reaching out. They are drawing inward to nourish their roots and settle into rest and sleep to renew their heart.
Jesus as he made his way to the final times on the Cross no longer reached outward, but turned inward to God.
The trees are shedding and letting go with patience and enthusiasm. It is not a dull and dismal affair, but full of a spark of beauty and creativity. An offering. The trees remind us, if we listen, that we must turn and tune into the darkness so that we can burst forth with newness of life and vision.
Jesus shed and let go with patience and it too was not a dull affair. It was a bursting forth wake up call. An offering. A letting go, a dying in glory, to prepare for the rebirth.
As we watch the trees shift, can we remember, and allow for us to shift as well? What changes are in store for us?
It is a time of change and transformation whether we like it or not. Like the trees we draw inward to nourish the roots closer to home. Our own study and growth. Our own hearts. Our family. We care for that which is close. Like the trees, we let go and in some ways allow for a dying away so that we can renew and become stronger.
We lean into hope of renewal. Hope of the resurrection for ourselves. We may think on the resurrection of Jesus and how his way can guide us to be more patient and good. To walk the path with grace no matter how dismal. We may think of shedding as a form of baptism, letting go of the parts of us that no longer serve and moving forward feeling fresh and renewed. Letting our leaves fall away for new growth. Hopeful and eager for Grace, God, Spirit, and everlasting life.
When we do not make space to let go and surrender, we find ourselves stuck and unable to grow and evolve. We cling to the familiar leaves. The safe leaves. The ones we know. We try to control life. But there is so much we cannot control.
We can pick the last of the last of the apples and stock our cellars with the roots and meat to sustain us through the coming months. We can plan ahead, but winter is coming. A dying is coming.
We tend toward staying closer to home in the fall, maybe even more so this year. Maybe we can use the essence of September’s surrendering to settle in a little more comfortably into what is happening around us. Not to “give up”, but to surrender to that which we cannot control.
Try corralling life…it is impossible. A great exercise if you are feeling too much out of control is to make two lists, side by side. One side is everything you can’t control about what is happening in your life right now. The other is a list of the things you can control. When your lists are complete: throw out, burn, or hide, the list of what you can’t control and post where you can see it, the list of what you have control over. Focus on that. Let go of the rest.
Accept that things are not always times of plenty and ease. That we must journey through challenges in order to build up strength and knowledge for new journey and new growth.
As the world around us begins to wind down and settle in, we too can follow suit. Letting ourselves explore the opportunities for inner work, inner growth, and spiritual wisdom.
Listen to September. September calls us into nature. The leaves call us. The fresh apples and grapes. The bright fruits. I like to think of nature as the playground of wisdom. We don’t have to seek for truths in books and tomes. Wisdom is found in nature. If God is Creator, then the wisdom is embedded in all creation. Our seeking God can be found in the world around us. I like to start Autumn by slowing down, catching up, and contemplating God by watching trees…