Joy’s birthday is on October 2nd.
And when summer has all but slipped away, and I am hanging on to the last petals from the last flowers, I seem to hang on a little tighter now.
Ever since the end of that perfect last summer we had with her, I have tended to believe that the change of the seasons is personal–that the earth is always a little mournful around this time of year in remembrance of her. Which is why I think I would have a hard time living in another place where the seasons don’t really change. I would take it too personally.
As if part of the world was forgetting.
And maybe I’ll be able to do that someday, but
today is not that day.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. I think Joy knew that and God knew it and He let her come at the beginning of the season, when the air is crisp and the reds and golds are swirling at my feet.
And everything is dying.
And I know they are both trying to tell me something.
I have always liked autumn because I know there is spring, and I love rebirths. It’s still hard, though, to see the petals falling on the ground. Especially the ones that just barely bloomed. I wonder if they knew that all that work and effort of being born into the world would be so they could try to bloom for just a moment…I think they knew. And I think they knew it was worth it.
I know Joy wants me to remember her now, when the fallen twigs are snapping and the sky gets cold–she wants me to remember, and she wants parts of me to die with the summer.
The parts that no longer belong. The parts I hang on to and keep even though they don’t quite fit anymore. The parts that make me feel a false sense of security, because they are worn in and comfortable and familiar.
And I get scared every autumn.
Here in Idaho, when the autumn comes, the leaves are falling and whispering in their dying breaths,
“Winter is coming.”
And when winter comes, it is glorious, and the landscape changes and it is not the same place anymore.
And it’s intimidating and a little frightening, because it looks eerily familiar, but completely different–and I could easily get turned around and not know where I am.
It’s a dangerous business going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.
That’s kind of how I feel about letting go of my “summer soul”.
If I let go of those parts, who’s to say that I will even recognize myself? And what if I get scared? What if I get lost?
In the winter here, the valley seems a lot bigger–sometimes almost empty.
And when I let go, I think I am afraid there will be room for more–a lot more room–and sometimes the empty vastness terrifies me, and I can feel my fear echoing and re-echoing across the chasms of my soul and wonder if I will ever be good enough, brilliant enough, patient enough, hard working enough–to fill it.
So, sometimes I just want to hang on to what I’ve got.
But, I can’t. Because if I do, I will end up with a bunch of dead flowers and leaves and that would be depressing.
So here I am, looking out on the changing of the seasons of my spirit and wondering if I can really let go this year’s summer soul. It’s hard to imagine there is something better, but I know there is. I just have to believe it.
And even though I am terrified of making room for more and better, I cannot not do it.
Joy knows that. And she smiles and laughs a sweet, heavenly laugh. Not to make fun of me, but because she knows.
She knows that when I let go and let it die, there may be a winter, but even in the vastness of winter, it can be glorious and beautiful.
And there will always be spring.