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A life of seasons

September 26, 2012 — Leave a comment

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I’m quite a big fan of weather.

It’s not the coolest thing. But I love huge variations in weather, from blisteringly hot summer days to bitingly cold winter nights. There’s something about the ever-changing nature of the weather which I find intriguing.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about seasons – both seasons of weather and seasons of life.

In nature, seasons are part of the intrinsic cycle of life. Spring offers new life and green shoots, which bloom and flourish in summer. Autumn heralds the beginning of the end of this time of colour, whilst winter superficially seems dead but nests next spring’s hope underneath its cold blanket.

This cycle comes and goes each year. There are variations, yes, but the overall cycle is the same. Without fail.

***

I think the same is true of our lives. I don’t know whether we follow the same set pattern that nature does. I think it’s probably not quite as structured and planned as that.

But our lives go in seasons. There are times when we are full of hope and expectation, when there are new beginnings and opportunities. These times often turn into summer seasons, when we flourish and grow.

Then there are autumn times, when it can feel as if nothing is happening and we are treading water. During autumn, it can feel a little as if the good things are dying off, as if we are losing them. Autumn invariably leads to winter, where we find ourselves hopeless, lost and without direction.

A life of seasons.

***

Ideally, we’d be able to lose the winter season, make the spring and autumn shorter and spend most of our time in the summer. Ideally. But in the same way that nature would not be able to survive on just one season alone, the same is true with us.

The seasons all have a value, all have a purpose. Even if sometimes, that purpose can be painful. The winter season can be long and bleak. But it teaches us to trust, to remember that spring and summer will come, and to rely on the roots we have grown in the warm seasons.

Seasons come and go, but God’s love never once falters or fails, never lessens or becomes conditional. Despite the seasons, God’s love runs through them all.

That promise is what we root ourselves in.

***

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” Lewis Carroll

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I spend a lot of my year (75% I suppose) longing for autumn. I love autumn. It’s by far my favourite season.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the other seasons as well. I love spring, the new life that it brings and the excitement in the air. I love long, balmy summer evenings and warm early mornings, and I love the chill and the emptiness of winter.

But autumn is where it’s at. There’s something about autumn which I find beautiful. Those crisp, clear days, surrounded by leaves the colour of rust and gold. Although it is contrary to what is actually happening, for me the world comes alive in autumn. Vivd colours. Animals frantically preparing for the long winter months. The smell of fire. Mist. Frost.

Hope.

In autumn, I find hope. Not because autumn itself is a season of hope, but because I know there is hope and new life on the way. Autumn is like those quiet pre-dawn moments, when the sun is preparing to flood the earth with its light and warmth.

Autumn is the pre-season.

I find it comforting because I think a lot of life is lived in the pre-season. The season of waiting, preparing, watching things change around us. The season after a time of growth and flourishing. The calm after the storm.

Stuck in the pre-season it can be hard to see past the impending chill of winter. Hard to remember what summer was like, what the new life of spring was like.

But autumn is an important time of preparation, a time of reflection, a time of looking forward to the next season which we know and believe is round the corner.

A time of hope.

A reminder of the blessings that have been, and a glimpse of those that will be.

That’s why I love autumn.