It’s hard to believe that August is nearly finished! When I saw this photo, it spoke to me of Fall. I know that for us in northern Alabama, it is mostly wishful thinking to imagine that Fall is on the horizon! But I thought I’d remind us what is coming. It may not be cool where you live yet…but Fall is coming soon! This is the story of hope isn’t it?
Yes, the beauty of Fall is different from the beauty of summer. It is mostly the beauty of things dying. The colorful leaves turn color because they are dying. It just happens that they look that way as they die. Dried straw has its own beauty. Using it to wrap around some live flowers for color livens a table or door. But honestly, as we look around us during the Fall, we see many signs of death in preparation for winter. Most leaves fall from the trees allowing the sun to pour down on our yards and homes to keep us warmer. In most yards, the grass is dying too. By the end of November, there won’t be many leaves left on the trees. Much of the color will be gone as well.
Look around you as the seasons are changing. Where do you see beauty in nature? Is it because something is dying or coming to life?
Now look at the people around you. Depending on your age, you may be noticing that more and more people are younger than you are. I don’t think much about it most of the time, but occasionally, it hits me that I’m in the older group in the room. I don’t think about my age much…unless I’m around a lot of people who seem to notice. Then I realize. Time is marching on. My body is slowly dying. I still may have 15 more good years in me, maybe, but I want to look like the colored leaves as I age, not the dried out brown ones.
Part of aging with grace, is making time to enjoy the beauty.that is all around us. That includes the beauty we see in other people as well as the beauty we see in nature. Aging and the slow dying of our bodies doesn’t have to be ugly and hideous. Parts of death are of course. But the slow process of aging without an actual disease, doesn’t have to be hideous.
As we are dying and becoming weaker physically, our spirits are often becoming stronger as we begin to understand the truth of Jesus’ words about His strength being present in our weakness. This is when our growth in grace begins to show…or not.
We can be learning to be more patient, kinder, more loving with age. It won’t happen without our being intentional about it, but it can happen. GOD is good. He is working to change us. It won’t happen automatically. But it can happen as we consciously refuse to allow bitterness to take hold and choose to forgive; As we think of others with kindness, and move toward people we never would have before because they are made in GOD’s image; As we are tenderhearted toward others when our natural inclination is toward sarcasm. Only GOD’s work in us can give us the desire to change. Only He can give us the power to change. We have to stop and make it a practice to make these changes a part of our lives.
Yet, even as I write this, I can think of ways I fail…with people I love. What a grace that GOD forgives us when we humble ourselves and ask. What a grace that Jesus did it right even when I don’t.
Make time to enjoy the beauty around you this month
In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,
and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,
and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment,
and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
Isaiah 28:5-6 ESV
Do not let your adorning be external—
the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—
but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart
with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which in God’s sight is very precious.
I Peter 3:3-4 ESV