by Stephanie May
I walked through my apartment complex today, intentionally stepping on every crunchy-looking leaf that caught my eye.
We had a friend over this evening and she gifted us with a basket full of delightfully ‘fall’ things. She brought us apples and cinnamon tea and the makings for spiced cake.
I’ve had a handful of pumpkin spice lattes and I’m counting the days until I get to slip on one of my favorite pairs of boots and wrap myself in a cozy scarf.
I love the fall.
But true to the nature of the season itself, fall this year has become the backdrop for an incredibly profound change in my life.
I just moved away from home, driving my little car from Denver to Gainesville, GA to start what could pretty accurately be described as my first ‘big girl job.’
It’s exciting… it really is.
I spent the Sunday before my first day of work celebrating over delicious food and drinks with my fantastic roommate, and painting, unpacking and rearranging our apartment. It was wonderful and creative, and as I washed off a dish in my very own sink, I realized that a very big dream of mine had just come true.
I have a brilliant job, a ‘soul mate’ of a roommate and a gorgeous apartment of my own.
I just didn’t expect it to hurt so much.
My dad drove with me out to Georgia and as we headed to the airport at the end of the weekend, I thought my heart was going to squeeze right out of my chest. I don’t remember ever feeling so homesick as I did on that car ride - knowing that he was going home and I just frankly… wasn’t.
As I was unpacking and rearranging, I surveyed this new strange space that is lacking the familiarity it needs to be called ‘home.’ I had my hands clutching my chest, totally stunned by how much this transition physically hurt.
I’m homesick - and not even the crunchy leaves and a pumpkin spice latte are making me feel better.
But as I looked back at the last few ‘falls’ in my life, huge transitions and big life changes, I began to notice something about the nature of the season itself.
Fall is a transition from something that is very much alive- flowers and green grass and flip flops and sunny days, to something that is very much dead- bare trees, brown grass, and everything freezing under a layer of cold.
But although fall is a very tangible transition from life to death it is also a time of transition from one kind of celebration to another. Summer is a season full of joy and laughter and cannon balls and backyard bar-b-ques. Winter is a season full of twinkling lights and mistletoe and remembering what is truly important.
Fall is a transition that ends something wonderful, but also ushers in something equally as wonderful.
And that’s how this change feels too. In fact, that’s how most of my big life changes have felt.
It feels like a tragic death of something incredible. It feels like something wonderful and precious is being torn away. But we have to come to God with empty hands if we expect him to fill them.
This transition, just like fall, is the end of one season - and it was a beautiful one. But as I allow the things that are so comfortable and make me feel so secure to be taken out of my hands, God can fill them with something new. This is the end of one season, but the beginning of another.
And the best part about it is that God’s made the transition itself lovely.
Fall is a season that is bursting with color - with rich yellows and oranges and reds. It’s a season of new clothes and college football and crisp, cool days.
It’s a season full of pumpkin and cinnamon and apples. It’s a time full of family and warmth and gathering around an overflowing table of goodness.
And that’s lovely.
And this transition is lovely, too.
It’s a time of laughing and dancing and singing with my roommate. It’s a time that smells of rich banana bread and the Febreze that we keep spraying over our brand new couch (that we adopted from a dumpster). It’s cozy and full of friends and exciting as God places one gift after another in my open, waiting hands.
And yes it is scary, and yes it is sad, and yes there are moments when I feel alone and where I feel like I’m much too small to be here on my own.
But I know that God’s good and that He’s here and that not one moment has escaped His loving attention. And with Him - whether it’s an ending, a beginning, or something in between - it’s sure to be beautiful.
Stephanie May is a world-traveling journalist who is in love with Jesus, with life and with all things beautiful. In early September 2012, she returned from the World Race, an 11-month mission trip to 11 countries around the world (she blogged about it, too!). Currently, she is working for Adventures in Missions as a Storyteller. When she’s not traveling (and especially when she is), she’s writing for The Lipstick Gospel. You can follow her on Twitter at @Smay15.