By Sister Lauretta
Poets have long used the seasons as metaphors for our lives. Maybe it’s the words of Ecclesiasticus that tell us “there’s a time for everything” that have motivated them. Today we will look at how some writers have inspired us with their work on the season of autumn.
It’s October, and we have entered into a new season — a time of change in nature; we see it all around us as each day brings a change of colors and a crispness in the air. Autumn is a season that brings out a range of emotions in us: anticipation, wonder, uncertainty and peacefulness. Although much of nature is dying and going underground, fall is also a time of abundance and harvest. It’s a time to think about the kind of season we are in spiritually as well. Although we know that God is always at work in our lives, that work looks different at different times. So, as we view both the losses and the experiences of rejuvenation, we can focus on God’s presence in our lives in a new way.
The Autumn Equinox is the day when light and darkness are of equal length. We, too, have light and dark spots in our lives. This is the season when we must be willing to embrace all of it, looking forward to enjoying the beauty, yet also willing to accept what seems like death. Fall is a time of new beginnings and with these we are given opportunities to “let go” or “improve upon” our attempt to make needed changes in our lives. We turn to Joyce Rupp, a gifted author, who has written many inspirational words on autumn as it applies us personally. In contrast to the more extensive activity of the summer, Rupp suggests that fall is a time when we need to slow down and be still, so we can be better able to recognize areas in our lives where we must get out of the way and let God be in control. Allowing God to work within us will allow us to see what we must relinquish to let God do God’s work. In examining our spiritual lives, we have the perfect opportunity to see how we can become just what God hoped we would be!
Look at the leaves collecting in the gardens and what do we see? Some see death and loss, but others see life. The old leaves were beautiful in their time, but there comes a point at which the branches need to let go in order to move from their magnificent past to embrace the future. It’s a risk, of course. They can’t be 100% sure that new leaves will come or that they will be as beautiful next year as in the present. But the trees must trust in an uncertain process. However, we know that when autumn comes around again, the trees will probably once more shed their old leaves and get another chance. So, we must, in a sense, shed some of our leaves, trusting that “new leaves” will grow back even better than the old.
Buddhist teacher, Sharon Salzburg writes: “One of the offshoots of being able to let to go, to give up and to give generously…carries us to a profound knowledge of freedom.” Fall,” she tells us, “is a perfect season to enjoy the freedom to give generously of our time and talent to others. Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let some things go and trust in new possibilities.
In harmony with the season, follow nature’s lead. Re-evaluate what to hold on to and what is no longer needed. Shed old patterns; make space for the things that matter most in life. Honor the energy of the season, embrace change and enjoy all God’s spiritual gifts that autumn brings. Praise God who sets the seasons in motion and who is the same God who created and shaped our beautiful creation and who loves each of us — the same God who walks with us through all our changes.