Have you ever walked past some autumn leaves and had the desire to step on them? To hear that sweet, crisp, crunch that seems to satisfy the soul just right? Me too! In fact, to me, that is what defines fall in my mind. You might think of a lot of different scenarios when you think of Autumn: pumpkin picking, comfort food and snuggly blankets, hayrides, festivities, and even trick or treating. But what is autumn in the faith? Where does autumn fit into our journey with the Lord?
There’s a favorite quote I have of fall by Friedrich Nietzsche that goes as follows:
“Autumn is more the season of the soul, than of nature.”
This is one of the many little truths that I believe. Observing everything that is deemed “fall”, I noticed the same ongoing trope: Life changes, without any guarantee that it will flourish again. Now that is a terrifying thought for any human mind. In fact, the unknown scares me to my core! But, the more that I looked out and noticed God’s creation, the more I saw how at ease it was at not knowing, and the more I saw its acceptance of the small beginnings.
Take the parable of the mustard seed. Something that is so tiny becomes a robust garganguan fortress of a tree. You wouldn’t realize that a tree was even beginning to grow from that seed,unless you stopped to observe the subtlety of its growth. You’d have to pay close attention to the nutrients the soil provides in the fall, to the roots growing out underground, to the small green bud in the spring. All aspects are almost always microscopic to the eye, but play a major role in the growth of the seed itself. The same goes with our souls and our hearts. In the time of Autumn, Creation slowly begins to trust in the idea that this season will work out to their future prosperity. Creation slowly lets go, as a tree allows its leaves to fall, one leaf at a time.
Thus, that is what Autumn is to Christians. It is the slow process of letting go of old ways, old fears, old habits, and old relationships. Autumn is allowing God to rebuild our soil and plant small mustard seeds of faith in our hearts, all so that He can start preparing us for the new beginnings He has planned. Autumn is the lesson in which nature itself is the teacher, and teaches us that when the leaves fall, then so must we also fall into the arms of the Creator Himself. In the Christian life, Autumn is a reoccuring period of the spiritual walk, as we daily trust the Lord a little bit more and more. Autumn truly is the season of the soul, as our good friend Nietzsche pointed out. And even more so, it is in the harvest in which God will reveal to us our merits and our mistakes, gently teaching us how to become better planters and better caretakers of the seeds He plants in our hearts.