I grew up in the Midwest, which means I am accustomed to four distinct seasons of the year: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. I know that not everyone experiences four seasons, depending on where they reside on this globe. But for our purposes, I’d like to use the concept of autumn to help us reflect on our interior seasons—which are fairly universal.
Many of the Days of Deepening Friendship community are in the second half of life—or even in the “senior” years, so autumn’s themes relate to us pretty well. Some obvious signs of autumn:
- The blooms of summer are gone, and grasses are fading.
- For many, it’s a time to store up harvests and preserve goods from the summer.
- Leaves wither, dry, and fall, and the land becomes dormant.
- The weather grows more cold and less welcoming, and humans and many other creatures seek inside shelter.
Parallels to my own life:
- I’m not as fresh and flashy—“in bloom”—as I used to be. I show the years in my body and face. There’s still loveliness, but it’s a different kind.
- I treasure memories more as I grow older; I store up good times, relationships, gifts given and received. I also treasure the details of my life right now, more than ever. I gladly harvest the results of the years—strong friendships, more wisdom, a healthier perspective.
- I become more willing to let go of what no longer serves me. Some aspects of my life are withering and fading and falling away—and that simply means that I am growing and changing. I try not to fight this change but allow it and pray for the grace to go through it well.
- In many ways, this world is not kind to people who are not young, rich, and beautiful. As I grow older, in some ways the “world” feels colder and less welcoming. Also, the physical challenges of growing older can make even pleasant weather more difficult to thrive in. I worry, too, about how I will care for myself and loved ones in old age—so there’s the natural inclination to seek “shelter” of various kinds.
Of course, my experience does not represent everyone’s. Please add your thoughts!