Autumn is my favorite season. I love the crisp air, the smell of wood burning, the changing leaves and hot apple cider. I anxiously count the days until I can decorate the house for fall and buy my annual bag of seasonal M&M’s.
This year I made my yearly pilgrimage to Target to peek at the pumpkins and gourds, and buy my seasonal bag of M&M’s, full of tan, brown, wine and plum colored candies. To my dismay, Mars company changed their seasonal candy to a ghoul theme! I was borderline irate! Actually, I thought about emailing the company to share my frustrations. Who wants purple and Mr. Yuck green candies in their birch wood ceramic bowl?
And then I read this quote on Pinterest, “Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go”. The quote stuck with me for a few days and marinated in my soul. Is it really beautiful to let things go?
When we are younger, it seems like we are always looking forward to something: our birthday, Christmas, graduation, marriage, etc. We can’t wait to reach the next milestone. Yet, when we have children, we start looking backward and want to hang onto every moment. And then we have to learn to let go: our children’s first day of school (mine was in our home), taking their first drive after getting their license, waving goodbye as they board a train for their first missionary trip, hugging them in the door of their college dorm room, and eventually hearing them say “I do” to their future spouse. At these moments, we want to cling desperately to the past. I have often wondered why God doesn’t allow children to stay younger for at least one more year!
Yet, letting go can be beautiful. You can send your child to the grocery store for a missing item; you feel your child’s passion as they discuss their experience on the mission field; you see them grow in ways they couldn’t if they stayed home; and the beautiful young woman your son chose to marry, you get to call her your daughter-in-love and friend!
This week I had to let go of some things……
These books represent what’s left of 20 years of homeschooling material. They might not mean much to you, but each book was read with anticipation and excitement with my children. Hours were spent sitting on the couch reading history, or pouring over maps and dreaming of far away places. I have to admit I did grieve a little as I took them off my shelves. Even God recognizes the importance of grief when he says in Ecclesiastes 3 that to everything there is a season, including a time to mourn. The important thing to remember is that mourning should only be a season! We can’t stay in that season too long, otherwise we won’t be able to see the beauty of future seasons.
Yes, my season of homeschooling is over. I get to pack these treasures away and prayerfully see my grandchildren delight in these books just as their parents did before them. In the meantime, I have the opportunity to look forward to God’s plan as it unfolds in my life, whether that’s a new career, graduate school (something I’m contemplating, now) or a new ministry. I also have empty space on my bookshelves to fill with new treasures.
As for the ghoulish M&M’s, I decided they had been for a season, but that season was over, now. They had become more of a tradition, no longer my candy of choice when I want something sweet. I also no longer have little hands around me reaching into the bowl for a quick snack. Instead, I filled the bowl with dark chocolate Dove promises with vaguely profound sayings.
Yes, it is beautiful to let things go.