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Fall.

It makes my insides bubble like the foamy top of a mint-hot chocolate.

Crackle like the splintering wood of a chilly day fire.

Explode like the blazing hues of changing leaves.

My heart slows to match the rhythm of the swaying wind… as it tickles the fronds clinging to their branches.

The fresh, crisp air almost stings my lungs. Almost.

This is my favorite season. And not just because it shrouds my birthday.

I love cozying up with a blanket on a cold morning. Snuggling with my besties in the name of “body heat.” A good excuse to be close to those I love.

I love the bright colors of pumpkins and gourds, trees in transformation, and the bleakness behind it all… enhancing even more the serenity of a changing season.

Confession: If I can take one moment for pause, simply to enjoy the season around me, then this I have also learned from my dad.

I have blazed through many seasons. Seasons I found bland, uncomfortable, painful, frustrating, or undesirable for one reason or another.

Only to step into the next season and find that I missed much of what was good about the former.

My single years were spent pining for my married years.

Married years spent missing the freedoms of my single years.

Years with young children pining for my own free time again.

Empty-nest years spent missing the noise of my young parenting years.

Well, at least, this is the path I am on if I don’t begin now to learn from my dad’s pleasure in each season.

I have watched him thrill in the beauty that each season brings, no matter how dark. I have seen joy in his eyes, even in the most devastating of seasons. In fact, I’ve seen this same joy lead and guide him through the darkest of hours. So that, on the other side, he does not regret the valley through which he has passed.

I have seen him live presently. Stopping to give strangers his ear. His time. Himself. People I would have brushed right by in my own self-preservation and sense of accomplishment.

But not him.

He has walked me through all of the seasons life has given me as well. Held his head high when mine was bowed low. Carried me when I had nothing left to keep me moving. Sung and danced over me when I needed his lullaby. Embraced me with my moments when I could only see unforgiving stone and failures. Then we get to the top. And he tells me to turn around.

And the view is breathtaking.

These are the things my dad has taught me:

The the most painful of seasons make the most fertile of soil for the growth and harvest in the next.

Even ashes make way for beauty to rise.

To not waste fertile soil of pain in frustration… but to love it for what it will become.

To savor every moment of the blessings given in each season.

To live now… what will living in tomorrow or yesterday give me but more regrets and missed moments?

That it’s okay to grieve the passing of one season into another… but to offer hospitality to the next season nonetheless.

With joy set before me.

With the hope that every season has it’s purpose and, when I’m willing, each purpose will be accomplished.

So I can live this life fully. Intentionally. Purpose-filled. Joy-filled.

I can be content in any and every circumstance.

Fall is here.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 4 of 31 Days in 2012.