As much as I dislike admitting it, autumn is fast becoming winter.
Freezing toes, frosty grass, and visible breath are the normal most mornings, and after dark. It’s only a matter of time before snow falls – and ushers a new season in with it.
I’ve never been a huge fan of winter. Though my childhood is full of good winter memories – such as sledding, snowmen, and bundling up in fuzzy blankets – it’s difficult for me to get past the slick roads, frigid temps, and surge of sicknesses.
I much prefer the beautiful autumn days, with warm sunshine, crisp air, and colorful surroundings. You can layer with jackets and scarves but not have to pile on gloves and bulky coats. The weather isn’t sweltering but it’s still warm enough to go hiking, or play sports, or just lay on the ground and soak in the sky without getting too cold.
In many ways, I see it as the perfect season. If I could move somewhere that stayed autumn year-round, chances are I would. If I could take all my family and friends with, I would definitely move. In fact, it’s about this time every year that I review my travel plans to that perfect place.
But then I start thinking about what I’d miss by only experiencing one season. If I never experienced spring, I really would miss those blooming flowers, fresh rainy days, and abundance of new life. If summer was gone, so would be the water fun, garden-fresh foods, and warm night walks. I’d even miss the snow, cozy game nights inside, and pretty frost-blanketed forests of winter.
If I only experienced one of God’s great seasons, I’d miss out on a lot. My life so far would look very different, and be missing an abundance of cherished memories. I’d take all the things I love about autumn for granted.
In a similar way, there are various seasons in our personal lives – far more than there are seasons of weather. And each has an even greater abundance of blessings to offer.
Right now, in this somewhat uncomfortable change of seasons, I’m in a somewhat uncomfortable change of seasons in life. What an adventure to graduate in 2020, and be making the journey from impressionable high-schooler to independent adult.
Will I succeed at this journey? If left to my own devices, not a chance. Thankfully, I know I’m not alone in the endeavor, and I’m clinging to the hope that one of these days I’ll stop feeling as though the rug’s been pulled out from under me, and I’ll be able to catch my balance again.
In the meantime, it’s a struggle. I think, regardless of your age or location, this year has been a struggle for you too.
So much is different right now. So many things we’ve taken for granted are suddenly gone, at least for now. People we saw so often before are missed, events we used to look forward to are canceled or postponed, and things we’d hoped to do right now aren’t options.
It seems everyone is longing for blessings from past seasons right now.
For instance, for the past six years, my falls have been full of musical theatre (yet another reason I love autumns). Beginning in 2014, I’ve had the privilege of acting and/or being on the tech crew for stage musicals near my home. These have been the highlights of my high-school years.
Not only have I learned an immense amount about expected things like singing, choreography, and acting, but also so much about improving as a person. Things like patience, determination, hard work, flexibility, compassion, teamwork, and how to forgive myself when I make those unavoidable mistakes. I’ve made friendships and memories that have lasted years, and that I hope will continue for years more.
In a typical year, last week would have been our final week of performances. Everything lately has been reminding me of that. The weather, songs on the radio, wearing something I wore a lot then…even certain foods. I miss it.
I miss the activity, busy rehearsal schedule, and buzz of a full house before the curtain rises. I miss the encouragement, teamwork, and closeness of a cast and crew that felt more like family. I miss the music, stretching to hit notes I had no idea I could sing, and the sore legs from dancing for hours straight. I even miss things I certainly didn’t care for then; like mic tape, headaches from struggling to grasp harmonies, and the nervous shaking leading up to ten-second costume changes.
I think I took those years of theatre for granted. I definitely enjoyed and appreciated them then, but now it’s become clear just how blessed I was – and still am – to have received those opportunities.
Like with autumn, my first inclination is to say I’d go back to that if I could. If given the chance, I’m not entirely sure I wouldn’t.
But, again, I’m realizing that if I kept to that one season, I would be missing out on all the blessings this one is offering. Blessings like more family time, the chance to devote more time and effort to my dreams of writing, and the opportunity to catch up on things around the house.
Volunteer opportunities I didn’t have time for are now open to me. Projects I’ve been meaning to finish for years are getting done. I’m healthy, probably partially due to the fact that I haven’t been in tight quarters with sick people who can’t stay home (the show must go on!).
I’m so glad I don’t decide what happens in the seasons of my life. I could never choose the timings of seasons and the blessings each contain. But I am glad for the assurance that those blessings are there.
It’s never failed. Despite my pain, discomfort, and reluctance for seasons to change, when they do, they always bring blessings I could never have imagined. I’ve seen it in my past, and I’m holding to that truth for the future.
I believe that no matter who you are, where you are, or what you’re going through, this season of your life holds blessings. Sometimes they’re not easy to see. Sometimes we’ll want anything to go back to the ones we had before. But someday, I think sooner rather than later, at least some of the blessings in this season will become clear.
Someday, we’ll look back on this season and wonder why we ever took it for granted.
But of course, the seasons we’re in then will hold blessings too. Every season does.
And, even though it’s difficult, I look forward to experiencing each and every one of them.
Praise be to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in the heavenly realms
with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
(Ephesians 1:3 NIV)