Thursday, October 27, 2011


The weather here in Western Washington has officially changed from mildly cold to borderline frigid.  Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but for the most part I'm not.  It got to be so cold yesterday that I pulled my winter clothes and accessories out of storage.  I'm pretty sure our highs are in the low 50s.

The best part, though, is that the colors are changing.  Green leaves become red, orange, yellow.  I'm sure I've talked about fall here before (or maybe not - I can't be sure and I'm too lazy to check), but I can't help but talk about it again.  I love fall.  I can't explain why it's my favorite season.  I don't have the words for it.

Maybe it's the weather changing from warm to chilly.  I like cold.  I would much rather be cold than hot.  Hot is definitely not for me.  And, to me, fall is when I get to begin feasting on "cold" activities.  Things like snuggling and reading a book while sipping a mug full of pumpkin spice latte all while sitting in an oversized chair by the fire.  I love things like bonfires and smores.  I love the coziness of fall.  It brings people together.  And I love fall festivities.  Hay rides.  Pumpkin patches.  Costumes.  Turkeys.  Warm chocolate chip cookies.  All of it.  It just enraptures me.

I also love the spiritual connections to fall.  Fall is a time of deadness to me.  Leaves change colors and soon fall off their sources, leaving their trees bare and vulnerable.  It's interesting how fast it happens, too.  Summer is usually so warm and lively, and then it's like we just make a sharp u-turn toward cold and dead.  And I realize this makes me sound crazy, that I actually like...deadness.

But it's not so much that I like it (the deadness) - it's that I can relate to it.

I've been there spiritually.  There have been times in my spiritual life that felt utterly dead, where I'm spiritually stripped to nothing and feel vulnerable with little-to-no activity.  Like the Holy Spirit isn't moving.  Don't get me wrong - I've certainly felt the glory of basking in the sun rays of how he's moving in my life.  But it always seems that the autumn of the heart is more vivid.  I always sense when Jesus is there, but what's hard is sensing he's there but feels like he isn't moving.  Does that make sense?  (Kind of like how the pang of loneliness is much more severe [at the time] than the joy of companionship.  What's worse is that the joy of companionship always makes the following times of loneliness even worse because you know what you're missing.)

It's like that in my spiritual autumn.  I have a harder time coping because I know what my spiritual life could  be like, what it has been.  I can remember just how sweet it was to feel the Spirit move in a way that was unmistakable, which makes the pain of - what seems to be inactivity - even more severe.

The beauty is, though, that it's just a season.  And what do seasons eventually do?  Change.

(Sidenote: A great resource for seasons of the soul is a book called "Spiritual Rhythm" by Mark Buchanan.  I will be reviewing it here soon.)

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