(from one of my favorite books: Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, 98-100).
Autumn is a season of great beauty, but is also a season of decline: the days grow shorter, the light is suffused, and summer's abundance decays toward winter's death. Faced with this inevitable winter, what does nature do in autumn? She scatters the seeds that will bring new growth in the spring--and she scatters them with amazing abandon.
In my own experience of autumn, I am rarely aware that seeds are being planted. In the autumnal events of my own experience, I am easily fixated on surface experiences--on the decline of meaning, the decay of relationships, the death of a vocation. And yet, if I look more deeply, I may see the myriad possibilities being planted to bear fruit in some season yet to come.
In retrospect, I can see in my own life what I could not see at the time--how the job I lost helped me find work I needed to do, how the 'road closed' sign turned me toward terrain I needed to travel, how losses that felt irredeemable forced me to discern meanings I needed to know. On the surface it seemed that life was lessening, but silently and lavishly the seeds of new life were always being sewn.
Autumn constantly reminds me that my daily dyings are necessary precursors to new life. If I try to “make” a life that defies the diminishments of autumn, the life I end up with will be artificial, at best, and utterly colorless as well. But when I yield to the endless interplay of living and dying, dying and living, the life I am given will be real and colorful, fruitful and whole.