Many people have a particular season of the year that is their favorite. What I love and appreciate the most is the transitions from one season to the next. By the time fall is nearing I am usually ready for the cooler temperatures it promises. Likewise, when spring begins knocking on the door I am ready to shed the blankets and coats and bask in the more natural warmth provided by the sun. As dry brittle leaves of various shapes and sizes and hues continue to litter my lawn, my focus is less on where they have fallen and instead is looking where they have fallen from. A standing army of skinny skeletal tree limbs stands guard around my home. As I sit working at my desk I can look left out the window and be rewarded with a glimpse of the pond that rests beyond those wooden sentries. As I sit in my living room peering out the back window, I find myself slightly amazed to be visually reminded at how sharp the rise of the hill is that sits on the other side of the creek trickling at the bottom of the small hill that shapes the end of my back yard property.
Of course, both the pond and hill have been in their same place all summer. Yet, I am not afforded a view of either due to the heavy vegetative growth during the summer that shields them from my sight. Part of what I enjoy about fall and winter is this change in scenery that I see as I gaze out my windows. The landscape itself has not changed, instead previously hidden areas have been revealed by the curtain of leaves that has been removed.
My spiritual formation within my Christian faith has its own parallel aspects regarding transitive seasons. Here too, there are periods of beauty and greenery that inspire thoughts of life, vitality, and growth. But, I have also experienced fall-like moments where everything appears bleak, dark, and dying. What was once blooming promises of God’s grace, mercy, and love begin to fall into heaps of dry brittle remnants on the ground where I tread grimly through the days.
It is at these times I have to remind myself to not look down and focus on the things that have fallen. But instead to look up to where they have fallen from. God’s landscape has not changed. Everything that was there before is still there now. His means of renewal and regeneration are not always easily grasped. God does not cause the bleakness and darkness in my life. Yet, he uses these periods for his own good as either a lesson to be learned or a reminder of where our reliance should reside. It is up to me to take something from this varied perspective and changing view.
Soon, I will tire of the view of the pond and hill outside my windows and will be longing for some color to brighten the lay of the land. Fortunately, but not accidentally, this usually occurs around spring time when the world of nature is beginning to awake from its winter’s slumber.