I have to admit, I always loved autumn when I loved in parts of the country that had spectacular autumns. I love the gloriously bright oranges, yellows, and red that make the trees look ablaze with color. I love scuffling through the piles of leaves that carpet the lawns, sidewalks, and forest floors. Each year seems more beautiful than the previous one. It is because of autumn that maple trees are my favorite. they are easy to climb and unparalleled in autumnal beauty.
I love an autumn day when the sky is intensely blue, you look at the trees against the sky and are truly in awe at the color contrast. Perhaps it is because the winter, with its bare trees is coming. It makes me cherish those pretty fall trees. I almost want to run outside and catch the leaves and put them back on the trees. The intoxicating smell of the autumn leaves thrills me.
As a child it filled me with laughter to see piles of leaves, because I would run and leap into those piles. As a college girl, the leaves called me outdoors to sit beneath a maple tree to study. As a young mom, autumn urged me to bring my wide-eyed wonder-filled son out to hug the trees and play. Even now the autumn leaves thrill us.
Fall in Phoenix is different. Fall means glorious weather with the intense heat gone. The leaves change colors and fall, but later in the year, and the colors are not the reds and golds of the maples. But they do change. In the fall here in Phoenix, everyone is out and enjoying the weather. Fall reminds me now, more than ever, that sometimes loss is really gain. Sometimes the dropping of the leaves means the mulching of the lawn. Sometimes it means you now have a less obstructed view of the sky.
So before counting the grief or the losses, realize that God has given you a new view, a chance for a clearer signal between you and Him. New growth follows the winter. But more correctly, the new growth begins now. The leaves fall, the tips of the branches protect themselves from the coming frost. All of that is required before the new growth can happen.
Think of tulips, crocuses, hyacinths, and daffodils. What is essential? In order to grow, the bulbs must undergo the winter (or the bulbs must be stashed in the fridge, according to my late dad). So as fall continues, and winter approaches, the lesson is there. Yes there is suffering, yes there is loss and disappointment. There always will be; but it serves to strengthen us when we let it do so. Night does fall, but joy cometh in the morning. Is it any wonder that I am a perennial optimist?