It’s officially Autumn – my favorite season.

I love this time of year. I love the crisp air, the last remaining rays of sunshine, the overcast clouds huddling together in the gray sky, the blankets, the flannel, the bonfires, and the snuggles with family and fur babies. I love any excuse to drink coffee and tea, but the cooler weather simply demands that I cradle a warm mug in my hands. I love apple everything (#sorrynotsorry pumpkin spice) and I love the rain.

Autumn is the time of year that most means renewal to me. I know that the new year technically starts in January and that new life begins each Spring, but to me, Autumn is that season of renewal. It’s the season where everyone hunkers down and prepares for the coming winter. It’s the season of harvest parties, Halloween spooks, Thanksgiving, and refreshed gratitude for everything the year has brought us. It’s a time of reflection and prayer for the coming seasons and the approaching year.

Are You Forgetting It’s 2020…?

I’m really not. My 2020 has been rough. I was fortunate enough to work for an essential business, so admittedly I was less impacted than most, but I still lived through it. I’m still here, wondering what the future has to bring for the remaining months.

My anxiety flew sky-high in the spring, back when no one knew anything about the pandemic and our reality felt so surreal. I had panic attacks, same as others – maybe you. I panicked about my panic attacks since shortness of breath is one of the virus symptoms. I missed seeing people. I missed going places. Weddings I had planned on attending were cancelled, rescheduled, and cancelled again. I cried. I ate copious amounts of ice cream. I did not bake bread, but I did learn how to make macarons. I laughed at the state of the world because if I didn’t, I’d find myself crying again.

But I’m still here.

We moved at long-last into the summer months. I tried to make summer fun for the boys, but we didn’t go anywhere. Instead we built blanket forts and Lego castles. We splashed in kiddie pools and drew with chalk on sidewalks. We went on walks. We ate more ice cream. We played catch and blew bubbles and rode bikes in front of the house.

Something tells me that my boys didn’t miss a thing.

A Humble Harvest

Things are a little calmer now in my corner of the world. I know a lot of people still can’t say that. There’s still a lot of hurt, confusion, distrust, anger, and fear circulating through our country. People have a lot of opinions and some voices are louder than others. Some voices are quiet. Some voices we can only hear in stillness.

Autumn is different this year. I imagine we won’t be having as many parties or bonfires. I anticipate Black Friday looking a lot different as well.

Different isn’t always bad. Neither is stillness.

Autumn is typically a season of busyness. We send our kids (or ourselves) back to school, get back into sports routines and extracurricular schedules, and start blocking social gatherings on our calendars. Before we know it, Halloween will be over and we’ll be looking to Thanksgiving and Christmas. We normally rush like busy little squirrels chasing nuts, but not this year.

This is the year of a still Autumn, a peace-filled Autumn. This is the season of 2020 where we have an opportunity to slow down and take stock of ourselves, our families, our situations in life, and more importantly, our faith.

Friends, God never left. He wasn’t taken aback by the pandemic. He wasn’t panicking. He was speaking in the same voice and tone He always does, only we let the noise of 2020 rise so loud (and it rises still) that we – I – couldn’t hear His still, peaceful voice.

“History Has Its Eyes On You”

We have an opportunity to bring the focus back to the things that matter as we kick-off this Autumn season. We can remove the “extras” and recenter on the fundamentals. We’ve been given a chance to get grounded and reset our minds and hearts on our families, friends, and on God – not the usual bustle that the cooler weather brings. Let’s slow down. Let’s prepare for the upcoming winter season (I suspect it too will be rough) by engaging in God’s Word and with the Father in prayer.

2020 is a historical year and it’s not even over yet. How do we want to remember it? How do we want to be remembered: by how we reacted to it or by how we reacted through it? Did we take action for justice? Did we pray? Are we proud of the words we spoke, the social media posts we made, and the voices for which we advocated?

Did we take time out of the loudness to listen for that still, peaceful voice?

What did He say?