In today’s post, I want to share with you something the Lord pointed out to me this week during my quiet time with Him.
Working in funeral service and death care, it’s very easy to get caught up in aspects of dying. It’s only natural to ponder these kinds of things when you’re constantly thinking about it at work, when it’s your job to do so. But even when you are just writing about it, there comes a point when you have to pull yourself away from the work and refocus yourself. As Christians, death is not where we’re supposed to be mentally and emotionally. We’re supposed to be focused on life and bringing others to eternal life in Christ.
October is upon us once again. The leaves are beginning to change colors and fall from their branches. Squirrels are hunting for acorns to store up for the coming winter. The air is becoming more and more crisp, and there’s an unmistakably different feel to it…almost as if you can feel the process of the equinox. As beautiful as this time of the year is, I’m always in tune to the fact that it all represents the dying process. That inevitable evolution away from life - warmth, green everywhere, flowers, birds singing, eggs and cocoons- and into death - a chill in the air, dryness and decay, darkness, stillness and silence.
Most people say, “This time of year is so beautiful! Look at all the stunning colors! Pumpkin spice! Sweater weather! Cozy evenings by the fire! Yay!” Quotes abound to honor the season… “Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower.” (Albert Camus) That’s one of my favorites, actually ;) Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely one of those people who loves all of this! Fall is my favorite season, and I love all the coziness, creature comforts and family time that come with it. But the fact that everything is fading away, dying really, is always in the back of my mind. It can bother me if I think too much about it. Can you relate?
When it gets cold outside and the sun does not shine as long during the day as it does in summertime, it can have a real effect on people. Many people begin to suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) about this time of year. It lasts on through winter and only begins to subside when spring breaks through. Maybe this is you. Maybe the anniversary of a pertinent loss is coming up, and this time of year you are always reminded of it. Maybe the death of a loved one is currently imminent, so the reality of it is very raw for you right now. Even if you’re simply struggling to see the beauty of life in the falling of the leaves, keep reading.
This week, God reminded me that even in fall - even in the midst of death - there is life.
In my prayers I was telling Him about what I just told you, how I love that He's blessed us with the beauty of fall and all the fun times and memory-making that comes with it. I told Him I loved it, but that it reminded me of death and dying, too. I told Him how it bothered me. I was visualizing a beautiful autumn wood as I was talking to Him and sharing my concerns. He guided my vision upwards toward a giant, golden tree. Leaves falling everywhere in a beautiful rain all around us, He told me (this is my interpretation): “The leaves on this tree may be dead and falling. But the tree itself is not dead, it’s very much alive. It has been alive longer than you can even comprehend. It’s roots run deep and it knows that in just a short time, life will spring forth from its branches once again.”
The tree itself is not dead.
Comfort swept over me as I processed what this meant. Yes, death is inevitable, just as is fall. We grow old, we may face a terminal illness, we experience the unexpected loss of family and friends. These earthly bodies will pass away, just as the leaves dry up and pass away from their tree. But the tree itself is not dead. As Christians, our bodies may be dead, but our souls remain very much alive thanks to the eternal life we have only in the eternal blood of Jesus. Because of Him, death has lost its sting. And one day, it will truly be no more! What a promise we have to look forward to.
I hope this realization blesses you as much as it has me. As you watch the colors change and the leaves fall away from their branches, I hope you see with new eyes the true beauty and message it has to share.
“Oh, the sweet life of a Christian that hath made peace with God! He is fit for all conditions: for life, for death, for everything.” Richard Sibbs