Autumn is my favorite season. As a child, I remember the excitement of raking leaves into the “walls” of a house and eating lunch in one room or napping in another. I remember the fun of jumping into leaf piles, walking through crunchy leaves, or trying to catch them as they fell from trees. Even the feeling of frosty cheeks and what we looked forward to as “sweatshirt weather” was always welcome.
A friend of mine posted a saying on Facebook from a site called The Contemplative Monk. It read, “The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.” Each season has a unique lesson for us. Autumn is a season that invites us to let go.
While many people talk about spring cleaning, which usually involves anything from going through closets and downsizing to a thorough cleaning of the house, I prefer to do it in the fall. It seems to fit well with the house cleaning nature is doing. For the past few years, I have tried to evaluate what needs to be let go of in my life. Sometimes I find I am weighed down by too many possessions. Often, I find it’s the busyness of life inside and out that needs my attention. There is a certain fast pace to summer – a hurry up and enjoy the warm, sunny days; stay ahead of the mowing and weeding; visit friends or take advantage of a variety of summer activities. Now and then, I find something in my heart that needs surrendering in order to become a better person.
One of the things I enjoy about nature’s autumn surrender, is that it appears to have fun doing it. There is a certain playfulness to the drifting of falling leaves. (I’m not sure I always feel that playfulness or am as willing to let go.) I think it’s because it knows, that what falls to earth or seems to die is never lost. It becomes the nurturing source for new life and new beginnings. Autumn’s prayer is transformation.
Not all surrenders in our lives feel joyful or freeing. Parents let go of children, entrusting them into other hands. Relationships change or die leaving behind confusion, sadness or loneliness. Letting go of old thoughts or patterns can be painful, as can relinquishing good health. And yet, we believe that new life comes from letting go. Just as autumn can be a season of letting go, it can also be a season of trust — trusting that as we empty our lives, there is more room for God; as we experience dying, the potential for new life enters in.
Joyce Rupp has written a blessing which states in part:
Blessed are you, autumn,
You draw us away from summer’s hot breath.
As your air becomes frosty and cool
You lead us to inner reflection.
Blessed are you autumn,
Season of surrender,
You teach us the wisdom of letting go
As you draw us into new ways of living.
May you have a blessed autumn season!