I’m in love with Autumn. It’s like hitting the restart button on my little corner of the world. It’s a visual reminder that summers full of energy, activity and adventure cannot and should not last forever. There comes a time to slow down and rest.
There is undeniable beauty in the color of dying leaves, but beauty is not so easily found in the death of all things. I think of my friend who lost his wife shortly after giving birth to their first baby, or my friends who lost a husband, father and grandfather when he suddenly collapsed in his driveway a few weeks ago. My thoughts turn to the recent devastation of natural disasters and the horrific shooting in Las Vegas, and I wonder how to process all of this loss.
And just when the collective weight of these tragedies feels like it will crush my heart, I look at my children and see beauty and joy and hope. I watch my daughter, Nora, holding her friend Virginia’s hand as they walk to school and I see the seeds of our future being planted. I’m reminded that there is still goodness in the world, that there are flowers still growing just below the surface even when we can’t see them. Not all hope is lost.
I think we all have a sense deep in our souls that things are not as they should be. We feel it more deeply when devastation visits us. We experience fleeting moments of truth and beauty in our lives, but we can never seem to hold onto them long enough. It is an aching reminder that this world is broken, but even in this longing we hold onto the promise that one day, Jesus will set all things right.
C.S. Lewis describes this perfectly in his poem about Aslan (the Christ figure) in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe:”
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.
In the meantime, we live in the tension. It is good and healthy to grieve because it means we are engaging this life with our hearts open. And in the midst of that grief, we can hold onto hope because there is still beauty to be found in this broken world, and because we know that one day our Savior will make our broken world whole again. We might not see it yet, but he keeps his promises. There will be life again.