Autumn approaches like a storm line on the western horizon.
I am not happy.
The Lovely Lady and I headed for church early the other morning about sun-up. The lightly overcast sky above reflected the glow of the sun behind us as we headed west. But directly ahead, we saw the line of heavy clouds stretched from our southernmost perspective all the way to the far northern horizon.
Without the need to consult a meteorologist or even to check with the weather app on my smarter-than-me-phone, I knew instantly that we would see rain in the near future. It was inevitable. Weather fronts here usually move from the west to the east. We were east of the front.
We were going to get wet. We did.
The calendar tells me the first day of Autumn is tomorrow. Just as certainly as that rain storm blew through on Sunday, the new season is going to arrive.
You don’t have to take my word for it. His Word is clear. Unassailably so. As long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat. . .shall not end. (Genesis 8:22 ~ NASB)
I don’t love Fall. Oh, the trees are spectacular. Absolutely spectacular. The scarlet maple in the backyard will be so vivid that its brilliance will actually light the upper floor inside my house. Orange, yellow, and purple hues will all combine to provide a palette that no artist can match, try though he might.
A lady who has known me all my years on this planet suggested to me today that the coming season will be wonderful. As I always did with my siblings when we were children, I quickly tossed a pail of cold water all over the flame of my sister’s enthusiasm.
“It’s just a bunch of trees dying to get ready for winter.”
She quickly toweled herself off and alluded to the spectacular views which will be visible within weeks. Reminding me that God made the cycle of seasons, she reprimanded me for my melancholy perspective. It was almost as if we were ten and five years old, instead of nearly sixty and something over that.
And, as I always had back then, I ignored her words, continuing on with my bellyaching.
I consider myself a realist. When I read the children’s books like Winnie the Pooh and Chronicles of Narnia, I don’t understand why people always disrespect Eeyore and Puddleglum.
Eeyore, you’ll be familiar with from the Disney movies. Gloomy, introverted, cartoon donkey that he is, you may be forgiven for taking him lightly.
Puddleglum, on the other hand—Puddleglum you have to consider a realist and a solid character.
Who is Puddleglum, you ask? Mr. Lewis tells us that he is a marsh-wiggle, inhabiting the swamps and living on a diet of stewed eels.
He says thoughtful things like, “The bright side of it is that if we break our necks getting down the cliff, then we’re safe from being drowned in the river.”
What? You’re laughing, aren’t you?
While Puddleglum may also be a humorous caricature, I’m not laughing inside.
I have spent a lifetime developing character traits which are not all that unlike those of the two famous pessimists mentioned above.
New ideas are met with an instant declaration of all the reasons why they cannot be implemented.
Success of newly launched ventures elicits vague warnings of impending failure, just wait and see.
Past experience is the measure by which all changes are considered. Failures will lead to failures; successes to successes. As they always have.
You know I was sick a good part of last winter, don’t you? It is certain to be the case again this coming winter.
You understand also that I have grown to dislike even the cold temperatures of that barren season?
With passionate disdain, I do not want to move away from the warmth of the fireplace while the wind blows and the ice coats the roads. Not even to fly down the hillside on a sled or atop an inner-tube, will I leave my toasty perch.
For many years, I have been adamant in my condemnation of the intermediate season of preparation. Autumn is prelude to Winter. I will love neither.
But, as I sit and meditate on the words I have uttered again and again, to whomever will give ear, I begin to grow uncomfortable.
There is a difference between being a realist and being ungracious.
Speaking truth is important, but without proper perspective, it simply becomes selfishness. Rude thoughtlessness begets animosity.
You can only throw cold water on your sister so many times before she becomes discouraged and disheartened herself.
The approach of Autumn is inevitable. Winter will follow it. It will. Those facts cannot be changed, as long as we’re living on this spinning orb.
It is possible, however, that I will not spend weeks fighting infection in my body. Steps may be taken to avoid that. It is not certain that ice will damage the shingles near the edge of the roof over my kitchen, nor that pipes in the wall will freeze.
Those things, and things of more import, can change.
Funny. My heart can also be changed. It’s a bigger task than I can undertake. I can work on the physical inconveniences of the season to come. Our Maker is the only One who changes hearts.
The only One.
He has done it from the beginning of time. Just as certain as His sustenance of the changing seasons and natural laws set in motion at creation is the desire on His part to change our hearts, if we will allow it. He will not force the change on us.
Winter will come. That won’t change. It doesn’t have to rule in our very being.
I’m ready for a new thing.
He does new things.
I still like Puddleglum. But he could be wrong. This time.
He’ll want to have the leg off at the knee, I shouldn’t wonder. You see if he doesn’t.
Yep. He could be wrong.
Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
(Isaiah 43:18,19 ~ NASB)
“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.
(from Winnie the Pooh ~ A.A. Milne ~ English author ~ 1882-1956)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.