Sunday, November 01, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Bittersweet

There comes a week of days every year when Heaven kisses the Earth and the forest explodes with color.  I find myself walking down the gravel lane and stopping to just drink in all the Beauty.  The sun's glow seems golden as it shines through the leaves and on to the ground below.

Such was this October.  Breathtaking.  Beautiful.  Colorful.  Glorious.

October is my favorite month of the year.  The temperatures are getting cooler and my kitchen warms up with more soup making, bread baking, veggie roasting, and tea kettle singing.  Because of the way it is decorated, my house looks second best in October, only Christmas surpasses it with the glitter and sparkle that comes with that season.

Given all that, if there was one word I would use to describe October it is... Bittersweet.  For in the midst of the color and aromas of Autumn and the Beauty of all of it... we know to embrace the Beauty for it will be gone in an instant.

This year it was the remnant of Hurricane Patricia which came through and within twenty-four hours, took most of the leaves down with rain and winds.  We have some color left as the calendar was turned to the month of November this morning.  But not much.  The ground here next to the forest is covered with (now) dead leaves. 

My mother became depressed each Autumn.  I always thought of it as the last glorious gift of God when He allowed the leaves to shed their greenery and give us a peek at what was underneath the entire Summer.  I loved that the cooler weather and shorter days allowed for more time to read.  I was made to hibernate.

However, the older I get, the more (as with so many things) I understand my mother's feelings.  She saw the Winter's cold ahead.  She had experienced a great deal of death in her life and instead of dead leaves symbolizing compost returning nutrients to the soil... she saw leaves that were once full of life and were now life-less.  I understand.

As I looked around at the now (almost) bare trees of the forest yesterday, I thought how different November is from October.  For while October has a magical glow (Narnia magic), where I live November is dark and barren... after the Harvest but not yet Christmas.

I was thinking yesterday how much the world looks like November at the moment.  A radio broadcaster I listen to remarked recently that for those of us over the age of fifty (and it gets worse the older we are), it seems like the entire world has lost its' sanity.  Everything is upside down.

What was evil is now called good and what was good is now... evil.  The world has changed so fast.  My mother used to talk about her parents changing from horses to a car for transportation.  My husband (who is older than I am) remember when his family bought their first television.  I remember my parents purchasing their first colored television.

Those older than me remember when couples on television had to sleep in separate single beds (although I watch those shows in reruns).  I remember a TV show that was canceled in the 1970s because so many people wrote in complaining about an unmarried couple living together!  Now just about anything goes on television.

A darkness has settled over this country.  The light seems to have been removed as God has been removed.  The country once known as good (although never ever perfect by any means) is no more.

The darkness didn't happen suddenly.  It has crept in over time, made huge headway in the 1960s in America, and in the past seven years has been completely legislated into the law of the land.

It is November on the calendar and in the soul of our nation... and the world.

But there is a remnant of true believers.  Don't ever let the enemy of your soul tell you that you are all alone.  Nope.  There are a lot of us!  Don't believe what you see on the national media.  Don't believe what you see on television.  We are made to think only a tiny remnant of dumb people still believe in the Bible as Truth.

Not so!  

There is Hope.  Real honest to Goodness Hope.  I was thinking about what I wanted to write for today when I heard the most recent sermon by David Jeremiah.  (Since I don't have the energy these days to attend church, I appreciate very good church ministries on TV!)  He was talking about how... during the time of Alexander the Great... people must have wondered about what was going on in their world as this very young man conquered all.

But while he was the main actor in "the play", God was the Author.  Because of the conquering of the Greeks, much of the world knew how to read Koinonia Greek.  Thus, when Jesus came and the New Testament was written... there was a common language for His Word to go out into the known world.  (We also know that because of the Romans, there were roads leading to the known world.)

Pastor Jeremiah said something that I thought quite profound.  After talking about Alexander's conquests, he said that he was certain there would be a day... perhaps not until Eternity... when His people will look at the events of today's world and see God at work in the midst of it all.

The world only looks like it is falling apart.  God will let it slip into darkness only so far (most likely it will get much worse if you believe we are near the return of the Lord as I do).  The Word says He cuts short "those days" so the entire world will not be destroyed.

You see... it is late Autumn in the world we know or perhaps even early Winter.  But Spring is on the way.  And it is one remarkable Spring that is coming!  Full of new life.  Eternal Life.  Beauty that makes the best week in Autumn look pathetic.

The enemy does not win.  The bad guys do not win.  Evil will be overcome.  Darkness will be overcome.  

What do we do between now and then?  We do what we can... where we are... with what we have.  We spend time with Him.  We create Beauty.  We sing songs of Joy to the Lord.  We know that this is not Heaven, yet... that there is work to do for the Kingdom!

That, my friends, is another post entirely...

Image:  My world a few years ago in Autumn.  A neighbor (who no longer lives next to us) parked a vintage looking red truck next to Autumnal beauty.  I had to photograph it.


The Journey said...

So timely. Our world is in deed getting darker. One of my teachers in Bible College taught a lesson about what she called, Sky Hook Values. We need them today for sure. He is where our hope is. Also, today's sermon was timely- Pastor talked about how fleeting our life here is. I have really had a stark reminder as we take care of mil estate. I keep thinking how much I miss talking to her, the things in our lives that I would share with her- Our new grandbaby- thanksgiving. So soon a person is gone- all that left here are things. Our graves are all same size- we don't take it with us.

Judy said...

Thank you for another, quietly enjoyed, Sunday Afternoon Tea, Brenda.
With conversation in mind, I am wondering if you know about this recent biography of Elizabeth Goudge?
I just stumbled across the link whilst looking for something else, and of course, you (fellow lover of her fiction) came to mind.

PJ Geek said...

yes, I so understand this post in many ways

Sandi said...

The commenter above wrote, "Our graves are all the same size- we don't take it with us."

Wow...that is a sobering thought. And true.

Your post had these words running through my head. I think it is a Kahlil Gibran saying: "If winter should say she holds spring in her heart, who would believe winter?"

Spring will come.

Anonymous said...

I am in tears. I agree with your assessment of our world. The comparison to our childhood and the values it held are astonishing.
Scary that many do not even remember or want to hear about it. Even deny things were so. So they are saying we lie? We lived through those times..we collectively remember them and knew so many others that did too. When i see our beautiful flag..the flag I love, it brings tears now too. I feel so ashamed that we could let this country God gave us slip so far away from what it was set up to be.
Your message meant so much to me. It does seem like we are sometimes alone in a hostel world. Thank you for reminding me that we are not. I imagine we all need to keep reminding ourselves of that. The things you said about the world now and how christians are viewed I did not know others felt the same way. It meant a lot agin to feel not alone there too. God even knew in this time we live that we and I and all who come here..would be able to converse through the internet. That today you would post this post. Thank you for writing and using this gift he gave you. Really... Thank you.... Sarah

Mary said...

You watched Pastor Jeremiah today, too!! He is such a blessing....I love learning from him. God bless and protect his ministry.
A coule of weeks ago, they announced at our women's Bible study fellowship that there were 500,000 women around the world right now studying Revelation. Wow! Kinda fabulous, eh?!
Your writing is such a reaffirming, encouraging blessing, Brenda. Keep on making beauty, Sister ;)

Vee said...

I heard that message this was a good one. I think your analogy is excellent. We see these things and know that the truly dark, cold days are coming. Oh and I appreciated what David Jeremiah said about prophecy and faith. When we see prohecy coming to fruition, we know that God's Word is true...that what He has said will come to pass. We have seen so many even in recent years.

Jenny said...

I love this post! We live in a part of Texas where autumn glory is only a dream. I grew up in western Pennsylvania and have always longed for home this time of year. A couple weeks ago we flew to my hometown to celebrate my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. It was a rich time of color and being with family. My daughter wrote about it on her blog and I wanted to share the scenes. God bless you Brenda for your insight and encouragement.

MachelleH said...

So moving, so beautiful, so very well written. My husband and I were just talking this morning about how it seems that we are living in upside down world. Thank you for encouragement and the reminder of the eternal!

tealady said...

I really enjoyed this post. I am sick to death of all that this world has become in just the past 25 years, we as Christians need to stand firm and stand for what we believe is true and right.I myself just recently have become so saddened that I just don't know how to deal with my own feelings.

Deanna Rabe said...

Thank you Friend, for this post. So much encouragement and truth in it.


Morning's Minion said...

A sensible and encouraging post! You find the balance between the the sobering 'news' of the day and the realization that some of these things must happen to move us on.
I think of the words of the old hymn: 'A thousand ages in Thy sight, are like an evening gone.'
Our span of years--precious to us--is a small moment in the long view of time.

Nancy Holliday said...

Amen Brenda! Such encouraging words to ponder.

My Cottage Diary said...

Brenda, I had to come back and read this post a second time. Spectacular post! Blessings, Bess