Endings and Beginnings

Today is Labor Day.  The unofficial end to summer.  For me it’s been my favorite summer ever.

But it was August 16th when this is what I found.

The very first glimmer of Fall.  An ending and a beginning.

I texted this picture to John, Katy, and Maggie and got two different responses:

“YEA!” and “NOOOO!  So wrong!”

That leaf is a picture of change and our responses to it are telling… It’s a reminder of the transition we’re all experiencing from  fireflies and fireworks to football and frenetic.

From refreshing to re-engaging with “real life”.                 .

It’s a time of shutting down cabins and moving into dorm rooms.

Back-to-school haircuts and to-do lists with something other than “Swim/bike/play” on them.  Putting away flip-flops and breaking out sweaters.  Less grilling and more soup.

I ran into a neighbor yesterday who was teary… taking her kids to college.  And today I had coffee with a 24 year old who has just moved back to the Twin Cities to start law school…navigating the challenges of starting over, developing community.  I got an email from someone asking about Fall scheduling.   Our daughters just moved into a new apartment.

Change.

Even good change, can be hard…can throw us out of rhythm.  Like someone who’s been sailing for weeks, we walk back onto solid ground and feel like we’re still rolling and listing.  We need to switch out our sea legs for land legs.

Some of us run excitedly into Fall like a trick-or-treater on Halloween, but others are like a kid, kicking and screaming on a sugar high, feeling we’ve been told we have to leave the State Fair and can’t ride the ferris wheel one more time.

Sometimes it’s a quieter grieving.  It’s the end of something.  A time of mourning what we’re losing like the last sunset at the lake.

Seasons of the year or seasons of life.

We want to stay with the familiarity of the job we’re in even though God’s nudging us to risk something better. We want to tuck our kids in at night, instead of cheering them on as they go off to college.  We want to stick with relationships that we know, even though they may not be healthy, afraid of embracing necessary endings.

But if Fall is often change that brings loss, it’s also harvest

No matter the losses of one season, our hands are not empty.  There are bright orange pumpkins to pick and crisp apples, and the bright colors of changing leaves, intensified against a gray fall sky.

Today, I don’t know if Fall is loss and things dying in your life, or if it is lovely crimson maple trees and woodsmoke and bountiful new beginnings for you.

There are three things to do in a new season:

Celebrate the gifts of the season we’re leaving.                  Grieve the losses.                                                           Anticipate the new gifts.

Maybe we all need to open our hands and acknowledge what we’re letting go of…the losses we’re grieving, the comfortable familiarity we’d like to clutch.

And then look at our open hands and envision the good gifts that God will place in them in this new season, giving thanks.

Whether it’s a change in the season of your year, or a change in the season of your life, what are you thankful for?  What losses are you grieving as we transition to Fall?  What gifts are you anticipating?  Add your thoughts to the comments below!

4 thoughts on “Endings and Beginnings

  1. Laura, I am so blessed by you, your compassionate spirit is evident in everything you write. Blessings to you as we enter this season! Love, Caren

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  2. I’m reminded that the one request God won’t honor is “Encore”, regardless how sweet it was… because the New wave will be even more life-changing, one way or another. Plunge in!

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