Fall is on the Way
When I was involved in campus ministry, I had a student whose spiritual discipline involved jumping in the leaves of fall. She would bring in a few colorful maple leaves when she visited me, and we would toss the leaves on the floor and see the random pattern that would happen. We would then talk about how God's love is purposeful, but at times it feels like a lot like a leaf being tossed around by the wind during fall.
The image of a large orange and red maple leaf that my former student brought in my office still reminds me that there are times where we all feel a lot like leaves falling to the ground. Sometimes our struggles and challenges push and pull at so much that we lose our strength and fall to the earth and pile up on the lawns of life. Then we find ourselves needing to take time out to go and "rake" up our piled up problems so that we can sort them out.
This image of a leaf "falling" to the earth is particularly meaningful for me since the Autumnal Equinox is on Friday, September 22, when fall officially begins. For those of you who have forgotten 8th-grade science, an equinox is a moment in time (not a whole day) when the sun can be observed to be directly above the Earth’s equator, occurring around March 20/21 and September 22/23 each year.
Is it just me, or does it seem strange to name a season with a verb? The kid in me gets stirred up and begins to ask questions like: “What’s falling?” and “Where’s it falling from?” And then the grown-up side of me takes over and begins to analyze and thinks about the origin of the word. The use of the word fall for the autumn season traces its roots to back old Germanic language which means “to fall from a height” which lends itself to expressions like “fall of the leaf” and “fall of the year.”
Whether or not we are up to date on the origins of fall, we can all agree that fall brings lots of changes. All of us have felt the slight change of weather for the last few days, especially during the night. I first noticed this when our air conditioner stopped coming on during the evening, and it got a bit stuffy in the house.
In the spring seasons of our lives, we are learning. Everything’s brand new for us. In the summer seasons of our lives, we go about using what we have gained in the spring of our lives. Harvest time comes in the autumn seasons of our lives, and we draw on the resources we have “planted,” just as we harvest the vegetables from our garden to be put up for "another day.”
Some people are summer people; some people love spring. I guess there may be one or two who like the winter best of all (for those who live in the Northeast and Midwest). But for me, I'm a fall-type of guy, so the fall wins the annual game, “leaves” down!
The main reason that I love fall is that Bugs die in the fall, but there are other reasons as well. The sky seems bluer in the autumn, and most of all the trees do their enhanced color dance in the fall. Fall has always been my favorite time of year. Five of my favorite things occur in the fall:
1. Our wedding anniversary - September 23.
2. College football is in full force.
3. Charge conference season begins.
3. Baseball starts to get exciting.
4. Basketball gets started.
I hope that you get a chance to get out and enjoy the first day of fall on Friday. When you travel in the next few days, please take time to look at the leaves change colors. Find ways to stay connected to the Source. And when and if you find yourself disconnected from the source and falling to the ground during the fall seasons of your lives, remember that the God gives new life and spring always comes even if like leaves our problems pile up on the lawn of life.
On the Journey,
Technology and Digital Ministry