Suddenly, Fall

Why does the change in seasons always take me by surprise?

The other night I walked out of the house to run some errands and was greeted by the first chilly evening of fall.  Maybe it was because the summer was so hot and this transition in life seemingly unending, but the colder air was definitely a surprise to my senses.  You’d think after having lived through 27 years of changing seasons, I’d just take the changing temperatures all in stride, but instead I was thinking, “Oh!  Is it time for fall already?”  This, from the girl who’d just had her first pumpkin spice latte of the year earlier that day.  Obviously it’s time for fall:  the strawberry salads have just been removed from menus and been replaced by cranberry harvest whatever, pools are officially closed, and Halloween candy lines the shelves immediately upon entering grocery stores.  Is it that surprising that the weather should be cooperating with our merchandising calendars?

‘They’ say that as we get older time moves faster, and that’s generally true, except maybe for this ‘season’ in my life –this year or so of discerning.  No, time has moved infinitely slow since embarking on this interior journey.  Probably because I’d rather skip the journey and just end up at whatever the next stop in life is, impatient as I am.  So, it came as a surprise to me to suddenly be waking up to what God was calling me to, to suddenly feel alive with purpose.

And why does fall make us come alive when it’s a time for decay and preparing for winter’s sleep?  I always think it’s funny that crisp fall air invigorates us, that we spend more time outside (now that the exhaustive heat has passed) with bonfires, pumpkin and apple picking, hiking, and just generally enjoying autumnal beauty, when everything else in nature is winding down.  Maybe we’re just trying to eke out as much time outdoors as we can before it gets too cold to enjoy it.  (Not that ice skating and snow ball fights are not fun, but they’re usually not an all-day activity.)

Maybe it’s because sometimes we like to stare death in the face.  And laugh.

We like to jump out of airplanes with only sheets of silk to save us, dive off cliffs into waters unknown, speed through streets on motorcycles, and countless other nameless thrills.  Why?  Because doing so makes us feel alive.  So of course then, fall would make us run faster and shout louder and breathe in deeper.

And somehow, now, dying feels like some kind of adventure.  A conduit for greater things to come.

That’s what this year has been.   Well, really, it started way back in Mobile after college.  Not satisfied with adult life as an accountant, I began the search for what I could do with my life that would give it meaning.  And with God, that meant giving up everything I’d ever wanted to be, to find who He wanted me to be (who I really wanted to be down deep).

With all those misconceptions about what my life should be about out of the way, I can see a lot more clearly.  And now that it’s not all about me and what I want to be, what I want to do with my life, my life is bigger too.  My life is more than what it was.

So, it’s kind of funny that here I am, returning to what my life was once before, going back to accounting (and I know what some of you are thinking, but trust me, I know that this is what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’m happy about it), but my life is more than that now too.  It’s not about the accounting; it’s not about my job or career or work or even ministry.  It’s about growing into who God is calling me to be, fulfilling my vocations, and dying (a thousand different times, and also that final death) so that I can awaken to life as it was meant to be.

Songs to listen to:

Surprise (Jars of Clay),

Learning How to Die (Jon Foreman),

Something’s Missing (John Mayer)

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