Grateful for Autumn: a season of beautiful death
I’ve always loved the fall. I love pumpkin scents and cinnamon flavors. I love sweaters and boots. I love the rich colors and a roaring fire in the fireplace. I love candy corn and Thanksgiving. I love scarecrows and falling leaves.
In August of 2012, our church lost a man who had been our depth, our father figure. His loss was felt so deeply to many who knew him, including me. As summer gave way to fall, and green turned to yellow, orange, and red, I thought of him often. I thought of how his spirit grew even as his body diminished from the cancer ravaging through. I thought of the way he stood before the church for the last time, just a few short weeks before his death, and challenged us again. It seemed to me that he intensified as he walked nearer to death. In September of 2013, our church lost a quiet giant of faith. His loss was devastating to his family and to our church.
I see both of them in the colors of autumn. I see how death is an invitation to live more fully. I see life growing more vibrant as it draws toward the end. I see the generosity of giving oneself fully to the experience of dying. I see how the end is meant to be a time of bold declaration: this is who I have always been and who I truly am. When I am no longer concerned with the preservation of my life, I can live in the vibrancy of my real self.
I am grateful for autumn. Grateful to remember that life is an invitation to live not only preserve. Grateful to revel in the beauty of life well lived and surrendered. Grateful to remember that this is a season of dying, and that is holy and beautiful, too.