As the summer season and its suffocating heat fade, my soul seems to come alive. Fall has always been my favorite time of year. What’s not to love? The mountains burst forth with color; reds, oranges, and yellows mixed with the evergreens. Leaves begin to fall and there is something exhilarating about the sound of crunching leaves underfoot. The temperatures begin to drop; resulting in glorious crisp air in the mornings and evenings. The morning mist lingers near the ground before disappearing with the sun’s warmth. Deer venture out, sticking close to the edge of the forest. In the country, the scents from wood burning stoves and fireplaces hang in the air. In late fall, camouflage becomes the fashionable clothing of choice along with orange hats and vests as hunting season begins.
After one last curtain call of color, the leaves shrivel up and turn that ugly brown. Leaves on the ground are soggy; providing a covering for the soil underneath. The trees’ branches are bare, exposed but the trees are not dead. They are simply conserving nutrients; resting until spring when they will once again show new life. Crops are gathered and harvested. Animals grow heavier coats. All of these events signal the end of one season and beginning of another.
This is also the time of year that I, along with others, must face many painful anniversaries.
Most of us have them. You know the ones; those heart-rending dates that loom ahead on the calendar. We strive to remember, to never forget a loved one. We may try to blot out (but can’t) that heartbreak or event that forever changed our lives or someone else’s.
What do we do with those kinds of anniversaries? How do we get beyond the deep sorrow and move toward the joy of spring and new life?
There are documented scientific reasons to explain seasonal changes. But when it comes to losing a loved one, there is no earthly explanation that can soothe my hurting soul. I have no textbook answer as to why one person lives a long life and another is taken away in their youth. Nor do I understand why disease claims the life of one yet leaves another untouched. But I do know that these losses and other tragedies are a part of this life. I trust that God has a purpose and a reason, even if I am never able to see good come of it.
Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah Psalm 62:8
Each year when these painful anniversary dates come and go, there is always a time of reflection, of soul searching, and a letting go of emotions … yet again.
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD… Psalm 73:28
Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble. Psalm 143:11
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3
Then I prayerfully and purposefully dwell on joyful memories of laughter and family gatherings. I breathe in deeply of the crisp air and enjoy the sights and smells of fall. I rejoice because somehow, even after deep sorrow, God once again reminds me how to smile.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD… Psalm 27:13