To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to gain, a time to lose
I had forgotten.
The cool breeze. The crispy sound of leaves on the ground. The brilliant colors.
An actual Fall.
A season behaving itself. Glorious nature.
The reason I forgot is that where I live, this time of year isn’t so polite and poetic.
As an annual tradition we southern Californians witness a wrestling match. It is not a dramatic one and we all know the outcome. In fact, we are mostly annoyed by it.
Instead of graciously allowing Winter to come, Summer acts bratty. It doesn’t want to let go of the heat, the sunshine, the long nights.
So it puts a fight.
It was 93 degrees the other day in October.
Come on. Just let it be. Give in already. You will get your shot again next year. You always do. Don’t you remember?
If you keep acting this way someone gets hurt.
Wait. Am I talking about seasons or people?
As I mentioned before I went for a walk today. It was a glorious Fall day. It is what calendars are made for. I could almost smell pumpkin pie in the air.
And it got me thinking about seasons.
Love is seasonal.
You know the phrase “people come into your life for a season, a reason or forever”? Something like that anyway.
I don’t like that phrase. It always made me sad.
I was never good with the seasonal part.
A reason I can be okay with, as long as I know the reason.
And who doesn’t like forever?
Seasons are messy. Transitions are hard.
Fall does it so well.
Me? Not so much.
I hang on for dear life for far too long.
Or I let go too quick, jump to the end, reeling as I go.
Fall is not like that. It is magical and special and is more than fine with memories.
If I look back on my life I can see many people that I have had the privilege of being close to for a season. A week at camp. Four years of college. Co-workers. Neighbors. Friends. More than friends. Not sure if they are more than friends.
People that were very very dear to me. People that were necessary and important. God sent. Special. Lovely people.
I put up a fight more times than I would like to admit. I didn’t let anything be.
Or I passive aggressively ignored it.
I guess I knew what was coming and I didn’t want it to come.
Do you know the feeling you have when you have to open that Pillsbury biscuit can and you know the pop of the dough breaking out is coming and you are terrified but you have to unravel that paper anyway?
That is how I feel when I can sense things are changing with someone and I either don’t want to face it or I don’t want to let them go. Even if it is for the best or for something better.
I think it happens a lot. Relationships change. Even our forever ones do.
Love is seasonal.
We get married. We get promoted. We have babies. We decide we don’t want to be friends anymore. Lovers fall out of love. We empty our nest. We are so busy now.
There was a fight. A misunderstanding.
Or just the passage of time.
If you are the one left behind you feel awful. You watch the other go. Sometimes fast. Sometimes slow. You wonder if it is intentional or not. You wonder if you did something wrong.
Or maybe it is you.
And before you know it you are wondering when the last time you saw so and so was and you can’t remember.
Or the time you realize, “We have to talk.”…
Or, if I keep giving an excuse or stay silent, maybe they will just take the hint.
Relationships of any kind are seasonal.
If they are like Fall, they can change beautifully.
People are on the same page. Good things in life are happening.
You are grateful for the time you had. You understand it will be hard but you focus on the good. It was wonderful while it lasted.
Or you both get busy and you take a step back. You are no longer in each other’s intimate circles but certainly still care for each other. There is an understanding. No hard feelings.
It is mutual, lovely. It can sound like a Hallmark card or look like a Norman Rockwell.
Here are some of those paintings.
An old saint dies that lived a good long life.
Co-workers say they proper goodbyes.
A couple both came to the conclusion that they aren’t a good long-term match and break it off, wishing each other the best.
Friends transition in life and although they only see each other once or twice a year, they are able to pick up where they left off.
But a lot of times Love isn’t like that. Seasonal relationships aren’t a Rockwell, they are more like a Salvador Dali.
Here are some of those paintings.
A friend says they will keep in touch when they move away and they do for a little while but then they stop.
Someone is taken too young.
A friend you hang out with all the time gets a special someone or has a baby and now you never see them.
The couple who hangs on for the kids and when the kids are gone they have nothing to hang on to.
One person still loves and wants to stay together and work things out and the other does not.
People hurt each other.
Summer overstays its welcome. It just can’t let go.
It’s afraid of Fall because it knows what comes next.
Some things must come to an end.
In our Summer all the time world where you must be happy and if you aren’t you can purchase it, no one wants to face Winter.
Too sad. Too barren. Too dark. Too quiet.
Shoot, if bears can sleep through it why can’t I?
Because I am not a bear. I am a person.
A person who lost people they didn’t want to lose.
A person who hurt people too.
And in Winter, the quiet, cold season, there are no leaves to hide behind.
Winter is lonely.
Why are we so terrified of being lonely?
I think it is because we have to face ourselves in our aloneness.
Turn inward. Sit in the quiet.
Face our losses and failures.
And they have names.
Names that break our hearts.
I don’t want to be the endless Summer that overstays a welcome because I am afraid of heartache or hurting someone.
I want to let things be. Remember the good times. Honor the other person by treating them with all the worth and respect I can give. Honor myself if I am being wronged. Allow Love to change.
Not be afraid of the Fall.
To quote a favorite movie line, loneliness is, “only a place to start.”
Fall bids us to come walk where the path gets dark.
But we don't need to be afraid of the dark.
What we forget about so often in our avoidance of pain is that if we step into the dark we find treasures that can only be found in the dead of Winter.
Forgiveness. Worth. Love. Reverence.
The more we resist it, the longer it takes. The more we force it, the less it works.
But it does work.
Love asks us to give up the fight.
Let it be.
Time to let Fall win the match.
Allow the leaves to turn beautiful shades of reds, yellows and golds.
I remember this as I walk.
I want to be okay with seasons.
I want to practice Fall with people.
Enter into Winter with grace.
And if I do it enough times maybe I can start to shake the cobwebs off my memory.
Fling aside my seasonal amnesia.
Remember the greatest lesson Winter teaches us:
Spring is around the corner.
“Remember the love, Measure in love, Seasons of love”