As I sit down to compose this column I’ve just returned with my sons from a local orchard. We picked peaches and our first batch of apples (Ginger Golds and Paula Reds). Before that we attended Mason’s middle school orientation. He starts school on August 27th, Max on the 28th. I’ve been easing my way back into full-time ministry, planning September services, especially our September 7th homecoming service. There is still more than a month of summer remaining, but today feels like one of those ‘end of summer’ days. It’s a bittersweet feeling.
I’ve written before of my fondness for the times of transition between seasons. Transitions are potent spiritual moments. Whether we’re talking about the seasons of the year or the seasons of our lives, in those moments when we come to the edge of one season and begin preparing to enter the next, we have an opportunity for spiritual growth. For me that growth comes as I reflect on the season that is passing away: What have I learned during this season? What has been good about this season? What will I miss about this season? How am I different because of this season? And then, full of thoughts and feelings about the waning season, I can begin to contemplate how I want to live and what I want to experience in the coming season. By intentionally reflecting on the changing of seasons, I find I feel more grounded, more relaxed, more connected, more whole.
Yes, summer is still with us for a few more weeks, but already I am missing the relative freedom and spontaneity of summer—a lighter schedule, going barefoot, grilling, long, warm, sunny days, laying in the hammock, picking berries, days at the beach, ice cream, visiting with family, native tomatoes and corn, more time for games, more time for reading and creative writing, hiking, more opportunities to exercise. But this season cannot go on. And as it winds down, I recognize I am rested, refreshed, renewed.
As much as I will miss summer, I am also excited and ready to get back to the work of full-time ministry in autumn, to get back to the practice and the discipline of preaching and pastoring, to get back to the more structured routines of work, family life, and parenting. And I am definitely excited to be back in the midst of our congregation, to be with you, to be present to your joys and sorrows, to be present to your life transitions, and to do my part as we continue to grow our beloved multi-generational spiritual community.
I hope your transition from summer to fall is a good one. I hope you can say a good ‘goodbye’ to the season that is passing away, and make yourself ready to embrace the season that is coming with all the grace and dignity you can muster.