I really love fall. I know almost everyone says they love fall, but not like me. I love it like nerd loves Star Wars or like Leia loves Han. I say to Fall, ” I love you” and it calmly says, “I know”, because I have loved it so openly for so long. I go outside and pick up leaves. We don’t rake our leaves until they are all brown. I annoy my children by making them look at certain trees and run to the window to catch a good steady cascade of leaves. I know which trees to go see; I could be the tour guide of local Fall color.
In the fall you get a string of days that are just warm enough to sit in the sun. Then the cold
comes and I sigh and think, that was good while it lasted and then, like an extra gift, another string of warm days come and the colors that seemed to peak last week, kick it up a notch this week. Even the first chilly nights are great and we light a fire and drink something warm and get out our sweaters. I warned you about clichés, but they are clichés for a reason.
Like all things that bring on such intense feelings, the love I have for Fall is bittersweet. I soak it up almost desperately because I hate the winter. I am cold-natured and crabby in the winter. Turns out I am a color junky when it comes to nature and I hate the grayness as much as I love the color. My yard turns brown and gray. The crabgrass we managed to ignore all winter is now a sickening blonde color and everything in my yard looks ugly. In the Fall I am clinging to the beauty because the dread of what lies ahead is so strong.
My life feels like it has rolled ahead of the calendar in a downhill free-fall into winter, the metaphorical winter. I had my days of blazing intensity and beauty all around me, but slowly winter has crept into my heart. I have prayed less and zoned out more. I have criticized and complained. I used to cry at commercials but now I cry for no one. The worst is, I can write about it unemotionally as well. I am dormant now and, as with the seasons, it must be necessary. There must be some purpose to this dying time because I have been through it before and so has everyone.
I am not depressed nor hormonal, not any more than usual. This is different. It’s like God is ever-present but very dim and shifting in the light. I read my Bible without feeling anything. I hear sermons without connection and I haven’t sought out my friends. They have not looked for me. Although I know how common these feelings are, it does not help to soothe me. Soothe is the wrong word because I am not agitated or in distress. I am calmly slipping into dormancy while appearances stay the same. My work gets done and the days tick by but the color and warmth is fading from them. Winter.
I write this and put it out there because I tire of the women who share the beauty of life, the sparkle of their home and the happiness of their children without acknowledging the blah. There are great seasons of blah. It is the way of things. I am not going to try and spiritualize my way out of a season of blah. Most people in the Bible had theirs so I will wait out mine. Too many women speakers and authors try to tell us how to feel good about our lives. Maybe we should just feel the way we feel and give it over to the only One who can truly manage it. This is where Grace abounds, when we are at the end of ourselves and we surrender.
I used to think surrender, in the spiritual sense, meant to stop doing wrong things and start doing good things. But, if you think about it in terms of war, it means to give up fighting for your side. You don’t then take up arms to fight with the side you surrendered to. You are captive. The metaphor breaks down fast , but there is something to it. Surrender is not about doing. It’s about being. Right now I am being dormant, appearing to die even. But the clichés would remind us that Spring is always next. Always.
There is something so deeply comforting in this promise that the LORD gave to Noah,
” As long as the earth endures, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22
This promise was made after the flood, along with the promise to never flood the earth again. I am thinking that the God we are made in the image of, didn’t like the gray any more than we do. He knows what is best for us and, if you will allow one more cliché, we wouldn’t enjoy the summer if we never experienced the winter. Pray for me as I wait out this winter in my heart. I pray that by sharing all this, others will know they are not alone in feeling the chill.
If you can relate or if you have any tips on winterizing the soul, please share them in the comments below.