Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Autumn color came early this year... was spectacular in its' beauty... and now in the muted form has lasted an unusually long time.  God's grace to at least one soul (mine) in these uncertain days.

Recently I was sitting in the car at the corner of a grocery store parking lot with a Starbuck's hot caramel apple spice drink in one hand and The Valley of Vision in the other.  Some people find a quiet space in odd places, I know.  :)

Normally I can lose myself in The Valley of Vision but that day I was distracted by my surroundings for in my line of sight were the grocery store where I have shopped (only when living in this area, of course) from the time I was a bride... the cafeteria that was my mother's favorite place to "eat out"... the Pizza Hut where we held many a family celebration... and a drive-in which looked very crowded as it was closing its' doors that day until the return of warmer weather.

Places of importance in the past with loved ones now grown up, or moved away, or gone on to their reward with Him.

As I sat there, I thought of the beauty that we have been experiencing these past weeks and had an idea why it is always mixed with melancholy.   For it reminds us of the brevity of life at times.  The leaves shed their summer greenery to display lavish clothing but just for a little while.

We find ourselves standing and gazing at the color which surrounds us, the golden days of trees as magnificent as any stained glass window made by man, and we know it can all be gone with the next big wind.

My thoughts that day in the car went back to childhood and that first real taste of death... of endings... of being cut off from one never to see him again at least this side of eternity.

I have said before that perhaps the greatest impact a traumatic experience has on us is the loss of innocence... knowing that, indeed, bad things happen to good people.

I think that's why children can bask in the piles of dead leaves with full joy and at the same time adults view the same leaves... on the ground and now drying as they are no longer attached to their source of life... with a sadness knowing the time of exuberant color is coming to an end and the quiet and cold of winter is near.

How like our Lord to create varieties of trees in such a way that they are at their most beautiful before they must let their leaves fall and sleep for the winter.  I am in awe... not worshiping the creation for that would be as silly as standing before a Rembrandt painting and giving worship to it... but as the painting tells us something of the one which created it... nature points us to worship its' Creator.

It tells me I can trust Him even when I don't understand why the road has bends and curves and potholes and bumps.  His Character is worth clinging to when I can't see where the road will end.  I know the destination leads to One who does not only love... He is Love.

He is the Warmth in the winter, the Light of the lantern as the darkness surrounds, the Friend who sticks closer than a brother, the Word that explain it all, the Rest in the chaos, and the One Who holds us firm when the hurricane force winds of the stormy trials in our life are causing us to bend.

But perhaps the real lesson of autumn is this... He always brings us spring and renewal and life and Resurrection.

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life...", Jesus.


Mrs.Rabe said...

This is so good Brenda.

I have been thinking of our family heritage - having just been with my mother in law - and remembering the losses of two of Tim's brothers as children on the mission field, etc...

Autumn makes me reflective - I am so thankful for the beauty that stirs my soul and am thankful that experience tells me that after the dying and time of sleep, life will spring back again! He gives us signs of his story everywhere!


Vee said...

A nurturing read for me today. Thank you.

em said...

There is a Danish hymn that comes to my mind every fall, the first line goes “Lær mig, o Skov, at visne glad” (Teach me, O forest, to wither happy).

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

What a great post and what awesome photos! You have a grand assortment of colors there - thanks so much for sharing - we don't have such contrasts of colors here. And actually after our dreadfully dry summer - a lot of the brown leaves - mean the tree is dead. And many other trees are actually greener than usual because we finally got some rain and they are rejoicing that they made it through.
What an awesome God we serve!
Lisa :O)

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

"....the rest in the chaos" says it all. Amid the cycles of the material world we are forever blessed with the beautiful Constant that never changes. :)

Beautiful, thought~provoking post my friend. All too true. The blessing is that there will always be another season in which the leaves will spring anew and another round of glorious beauty to peak...and die off...and peak again. The wondrous round that is the material world.

Anonymous said...

I have a lump in my throat. I am speechless. There are no words, you have said it all.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Another lovely Sunday Afternoon Tea post, Brenda....I'm think of Gerard Manley Hopkin's poem which begins, "Margaret, are you grieving, over golden grove unleaving....." It's a lovely poem but far too bleak.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Especially the last part.
Maybe kids don't mind autumn as much partly because they don't have to rake the leaves or shovel the snow :)
They're also more inclined to look on the bright side. To them, winter is coming but so is Christmas and sledding and skating. I sometimes think we should cultivate their outlook.