Changing seasons can be messy in nature and in life. Here’s what I observed and reflected on in September 2015. Little did I know that just five years later, that messiness would take on a whole new meaning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Morning walk, early September
As I walk this morning in early September, I notice lots of changes on the roadside, in the woods, and in the gardens of my neighbors as I pass.
They’re all rather messy!
The roadsides have lost the beautiful blooms of earlier in the summer. The blossoms are shriveled and brown, as are many of the leaves. In fact, going to seed is the order of the day. I’m seeing lots of fallen leaves already, and because of the drought, many leaves are turning straight to brown without displaying the lovely shades of yellow or red we look for in the fall. In the gardens, most of the vegetable plants have finished bearing their produce, and weeds have taken over or, in some cases, everything has already been plowed up, ready for spring planting after a winter of rest.
Changing seasons is a messy time.
This happens in real life too…
It occurs to me the seasons of our lives often get a little messy too as we transition from one to another: from childhood to adulthood, from high school to college, from single to married, from married to divorced or widowed, from young to middle-aged to old.
Change is hard. Painful. Scary.
There’s no getting around that, but thankfully nature gives us a wonderful story that doesn’t end with deterioration and death. There is always another season, another renewal, another day.
This reflection, of course, encompasses my faith in a life after death. It’s a mystery, to be sure. I have no idea what form it will take or what it will look like, but I believe that our souls do not die, and therefore there is always hope.
Should we take action or wait?
Sometimes during these messy times of our lives, we are called to take action. But sometimes we are called to wait, and waiting can be the hardest part of all!
No matter what is going on in your life, you’re always called to take care of your most precious asset—you!
Whatever season you’re in right now, however dark the road may seem right this moment, consider the seasons of nature and know with absolute certainty that just beyond the clouds, the sun is shining.
September 2020 update
As I write this in mid-September 2020, we are in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic and have been “laying low” and avoiding physical contact with others here in the United States since March. The change of seasons from summer to fall here in Virginia means cold weather will soon be hindering our getting out even more. Regular flu season may be adding insult to injury as we head into winter.
Messiness can occur in projects too. I’m trying to write a book that I’ve been thinking about for years, and right now, I’m wallowing around in the “messy middle,” hoping to find my way out soon.
Ironically, I’m hearing many people say they’ve been inspired to use the “Great Pause” to clean house, literally and figuratively. John and I have certainly been downsizing and decluttering, and that feels strangely liberating. But the emotional impact of COVID-19 feels messy, uncertain, and anxiety-producing. More than ever, I am comforted and inspired by the lessons of Nature and the promises of our faith.
How have you been dealing with the messiness of this season in your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.