The calendar tells us that fall is here. Traditionally associated with changing leaves, all things pumpkin, sweaters, and the scents of mums and hot popcorn, fall delights all the senses. With the welcome of any new season, if you look beneath the surface, there’s much to learn in the changing; the letting go of what was and the welcoming of what is to come. Now that it’s officially fall, here are a few spiritual lessons fall has to offer that I’m hoping to embrace.
“I go my class in the fall.” For much of the summer my preschool daughter kept asking about going back to her class. For her 4-year-old brain it was hard to understand how many weeks until school started, so we began telling her she’d go back in the fall. “I go my class with my teacher.” Emphasis on my.
“You’re going to have a new teacher in the fall! You know her already, and you’ll also have new friends in your class” I would remind her gently.
“I go my class.” She persisted in telling me.
Change is hard for all of us. We get into routines and patterns, things as they’ve always been. We like what we know because it’s comfortable. With even a small change we can sometimes be put off kilter, or just uncomfortable. Yet, looking towards the fall I’m reminded that change is good and beautiful. The changing season invites us to trust God with what was, what is, and what is to come.
After the first week of class my daughter proudly tells me, “I love my new class. I love my new friends.”
I smile and reply, “I’m so glad.” Just as fall changes slowly, with a changing leave here and a drop in the temperature there, it takes time to welcome something new. But if we give ourselves the time to embrace the newness we encounter unexpected gifts: a kind friend, a hug from the teacher, and the love of what is right in front of us.
In each transition and change, know that God goes with us.
Notice Beautiful Things
Last fall the trees in our front yard were breathtaking. Bright orange, yellow, and red. Neighbors came to take family photos in our yard and drivers passing by couldn’t help but stop and take notice. The brilliant colored leaves demanded your attention.
It’s easy to notice the magnificence of changing leaves. The lush green giving way to shades of red and orange, the sun’s light reflecting a rainbow of colors. Fall reminds me to stop and notice this beauty. To sit still and look up to the sky. To marvel at one tiny leaf. To listen for birds flying south and bees searching for pollen. Fall takes what we see everyday, a tree and its leaves, and shows us that beauty is all around.
In each transition and change, look and see the beauty of God’s creation.
I think the call to rest can be found in every season, but especially in the autumn while we’re watching the leaves fall and the trees and earth prepare for the winter. Resting in the natural cycle of birth, life, death, and renewal. It involves listening to our bodies and our souls. It means taking moments of sabbath remembering that finding peace means finding God.
In each transition and change, take time to breathe deeply, to sit, and listen for the still, small voice of God.
What are you learning in this season? May God meet you where you are and bring a beautiful change to you.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website or follow her work on Facebook.