Happy rainy “Five-Minute Friday” with Lisa Jo Baker –
And, today, the word is…
“The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let dead things go.”
I have a love-hate relationship with autumn.
While I enjoy the gorgeous colors and the pumpkins and the leaves crunching under my feet and no longer stressing so much about a swimsuit-ready body, I’m always so sad to see my favorite season of summer go.
Everyone is all like, “Pumpkin Spice Lattes!” And I’m like, “Yeah, those are yummy, but…”
As an aside, has Starbucks changed their flavored coffee drinks this season or is it just me? A couple of weeks ago, I went to Starbucks and, with giddy anticipation, ordered my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season, and I ended up being so disappointed! The coffee had a chemical “fake flavoring” taste to it, and I decided I enjoyed our freshly brewed coffee with pumpkin spice creamer at home so much more. And another thing! Why don’t the grocery stores stock enough pumpkin spice creamer? You’d think they’d know by now to stock up on the Pumpkin Spice creamer!
Anyway, moving on…
I adore summer. As I’ve said before, I’m a summer girl. Flipflops, the beach, hot days and humid nights… these are a few of my favorite things!
And, every year, when autumn rolls around, I find myself feeling a little sad. Summer, the fun season, is passed. The days get shorter and shorter as fall brings us ever closer to the end of another year, and then, before we know it, the year is finished. Time and seasons march ever onward, and nothing can stay the same.
And, as the leaves fall off the trees, it feels like I’m losing something too. Something that I didn’t know I needed to hold on to until I had to let it go.
There’s a tree-lined street on the way to our home, and, in the autumn, the yellow and orange leaves will dance and float all around as you drive down the street. It’s gorgeous and enchanting and rather fairy-like. But, sometimes, as I drive down the road amid the falling leaves, I feel like saying to their trees, “No, no, no! Wait! You can’t let them fall yet. You need to hang on a little longer. You’re not ready to let go!”
I have a hard time with change. I have a hard time with letting go.
About a month ago, the five of us were together in our mini-van headed back from an apple orchard. Because that’s one of the things one does in the autumn. Apple orchards are on the Fall Bucket List along with Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes, you know.
And, on this particular sunny fall day, as we were winding down the mountain and admiring the pretty colors on the trees, my dear, wise husband commented, “Isn’t it cool how God uses the seasons to show us how beautiful life can be, even in death?”
Because I can be a little bah-humbug-ish when it comes to winter, I replied with a shrug, “Yeah, I guess. I mean, I agree that fall can be lovely, but I always dread it because I know that after fall comes ugly, boring, cold winter.”
“But you know,” my surprise philosopher continued. “Winter has to be a part of things too. And then, with spring, you get new life.”
“It’s the circle of life!” one of our older kids interjected.
And then we laughed and erupted in an impromptu, rousing rendition of “The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King.”
But it’s true.
As Christ-followers, we know we have to die to selves to be made new in Him. And we recognize and praise the glorious beauty of this miracle.
However, like the trees, sometimes, we have to stop hanging on to other stuff as well and just let go. And there’s beauty in this too.
To just let go…
Past hurts, past mistakes, the wouldas, the couldas, and the shouldas, the regrets and, yes, too even some of the good things… we have to let go.
One of the movies we watched over and over and over and over again when our older two children were younger was “Finding Nemo.” (Seriously. We watched it so many times we wore the DVD out.) For those who have seen the movie, you know that Nemo’s daddy, Marlin, has a very hard time with letting go. And, for those of you who know me, you know I can identify! There’s one scene in the movie where Marlin is clinging for dear life to the tongue of the whale, and Dory, his friend, yells at him, “You have to let go!” And he yells back, “But I don’t know what will happen!” Yet he also realizes he has no choice but to let go… and trust. And so he lets go in one glorious, last-hurrah fall, only to be raised triumphantly back up. And I cry every time.
We have to let go to keep living. We have to let go and embrace the change. We have to let go of the past to live fully in the present.
To just finally let it all go and watch it flutter and dance and fall in one last lovely burst of gorgeous color… and even allow ourselves to fully recognize the beauty and the glory of letting go.
When I was a teenager writing angsty poetry, I once wrote, “Autumn is the quiet beauty before death.” But I was wrong… Autumn isn’t quiet. It’s noisy and bright and, yes, even joyful. It’s the after that’s quiet.
Maybe after we let go, we do then stand dormant for a while, waiting and still and silent as winter, because that has to be a part of it too… the waiting, the stillness… But, while we’re waiting, we know, we trust, that spring will come rushing back one day with new blooms and new promises and new mercies and new life.
Letting go, stillness, newness… the glorious circle of life and of our seasons.
And we serve a God who is so wonderful and so amazing that even the trees of the field praise Him in every season. We serve a God who tells the trees when it’s time for them to let go.
And there’s always beauty in letting go.