The timeless sayings about ‘seasons changing’ and the metaphors to life that provide hope and restoration for weary souls have always provided peace and comfort during the most challenging times of the human experience.
Nothing lasts forever, we say. It helps. The words are something to cling to when at times we feel all hope is lost.
Eventually the seasons do change and we realize it was indeed true, not all is lost, and nothing lasts forever. Then we feel comforted again and life moves on, and those most difficult times are muted in memory because they did, indeed, pass.
It makes it seem like it wasn’t so bad after all in the first place, and all the worry and long nights of lost sleep fade away to a distant memory when the seasons finally lose grip and the new one takes root.
In our faded memories, the season seems to have changed from the difficult to the wonderful one overnight. The reality is, it didn’t happen that way at all. One season gave in to another, slowly and painfully. One lost grip on the other.
Around here, it’s changing from fall to winter as we speak. The weather can’t decide between sunny and warm or the less desirable: dark, stormy, and cold.
From day to day or week to week it is different. Sometimes it’s a week of nasty wind and rain, the cold wet drops stinging my face every time I go outside and I shiver in the depths of my body, and it takes hours to truly warm up after being outside in the nasty rain.
The discolored leaves fall off in spurts, whenever there is a wind. Just when I’ve cleaned off the sidewalk with the leaf blower, here comes the storm again, messing up the work I thought I already did. It forces a redo, which I hate, but it’s inevitable.
And then after that, a sunny day comes along, cool and bright, but the fall glow of the sun is different than the bright summer sun, and I can feel the warmth and I value it even more when I know it’s just a respite from the cold and wet.
The days get progressively shorter now, and the golden hour is four hours earlier than it used to be a few months ago. I didn’t notice it, it changed slowly, but it’s still golden nonetheless.
That’s how the seasons change and how nothing lasts forever. It’s a painful and confusing transition.
I know how it’ll end up, but the process is messier than it appears. Time marches forward, but along the way there are fits and starts that don’t feel that comfortable or peaceful.
At some point the transition is done, but it’s never marked with a clear guidepost of FINISHED. It just happens, and those last leaves fall off the trees, the winter rains and snow settle in, and it’s time to hibernate for a little while.
So it is during life transitions too. The difficult times wane, they ebb and flow, leaving soul scars that are healing, slowly, but certainly, if we are willing. They peak in difficulty and pain at some point, but it’s not linear or clear.
The healing takes hold, and we notice we are indeed better than we once were, peaceful and comforted, but it took a lot of time, and wouldn’t be forced. Couldn’t be forced, in fact, forcing it only protracted the pain.
Leaving room for those ugly parts and submitting to the seasons, because they do happen anyway, whether we want them to or not, is a beautiful act of surrender. That releasing of grip allows rest and peace during the uncertainty of change.
In my life, the last of the summer leaves are holding on for dear life to the trees as the wind and rain pelt them. Some of those leaves are ugly, spotted and dark, and others are bright red and gold. All will fall, I’m more thankful for the beautiful ones than the ugly ones, but I have needed them both.
I’m ready to head into winter, slowly, surely, for a time of hibernation and rest. I’ve been on my way for awhile, and the rest and peace is coming in waves, there are easy days and hard days.
The more I surrender to the process, the easier it is to accept that it will take the time it takes, and there are truly peaceful moments along the way. I could ignore that it’s happening, but I would miss out on the growth and goodness of participating in all of it.
Meanwhile, the seasons are changing, and it’s true, nothing lasts forever.