Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's Fall Ya'll...

I have always LOVED Fall! Hands down it is my favorite season. And really, how could it not be. Growing up in Tennessee, every September always began with great anticipation. We were always waiting for the first brisk sunny day, for Mamaw’s first homemade stew of the season, the first football game, and for the first trees to change into their brilliant yellows & fiery reds.

I moved out of the Deep South 10 years ago, and I still get homesick every fall. The leaves don’t change colors in Texas & they defiantly don’t change colors in Uganda (I take that back, they turn from green to a nice dusty red when we are in need of rain). Every year I strategically plan a trip home during the fall, praying that I time it just right so that the trees are bursting with color when I arrive!

Shortly after I moved away from the South, fall became so much more than brilliant trees & football to me. The symbolism of fall began to resonate with me so much more. It really is so beautiful when you think about it. Fall is the willingness to change your colors, the willingness to let everything go, to wait patiently through the winter, and in the springtime…become new again.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone;

the new has come!

2 Corinthians 5: 17

I really think the fall is a gentle reminder to us once a year that “the old has gone; the new has come!” It is a reminder of what has happened and what will happen. What a beautiful way to be reminded!! A few weeks ago I stumbled upon this reflection in an old book by Macrina Wiederkehr. It’s called The Sacrament of Letting Go. It articulated so perfectly the sacredness and symbolism of fall. Don’t stop reading this blog here…press on, you will be blessed.

I pray that you see this season of fall with a new heart this year. It’s Fall Ya’ll!

The Sacrament of Letting Go by Macrina Wiederkehr

That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, not about your body and what you wear. Surely life is more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not worth so much more than they are?

Matthew 6: 25-26

I worry too much. Autumn trees ask me not to worry. They, like Jesus, suggest trust rather than worry. So often in autumn I want to go and lean my head against a tree and ask what it feels like to lose so much, to be so empty, so detached, to take off one’s shoes that well, and then simply stand and wait for God’s refilling. It sounds so simple, so easy. It isn’t easy. But it’s possible.

I think I’ve met one person in my lifetime who was truly empty. I didn’t ask her what it felt like but I remember a quiet joy that seemed to permeate her spirit, and she looked free.

We autumn strugglers must try hard not to wear discouragement as a cloak if we can’t wear enough emptiness to make us free. It takes a long time to get as far as even wanting to be empty.

Our hearts are hungering for the Sacrament of Letting Go. Once we discover that we already possess enough grace to let go, trust begins to form in the center of who we are. Then we can take off our shoes and stand empty and vulnerable, eager to receive God’s next gift.

And let us pray for one another, for emptying is painful and the Body of Christ who we are calls us to support each other in this autumn effort. The Body of Christ also stands stripped, crucified, waiting for the new life that each of us can bring to it.


she celebrated the sacrament of letting go

first she surrendered her green

then the orange, yellow, and red

finally she let go of her brown

shedding her last leaf

she stood empty and silent, stripped bare.

Leaning against the winter sky

she began her vigil of trust.

And Jesus said:

Why do you worry about clothes? Remember the

flowers growing in the fields; they do not fret about

what to wear; yet I assure you not even Solomon in

all his royal robes was dressed like one of these.

Shedding her last leaf

she watched it journey to the ground.

She stood in silence

wearing the color of emptiness,

her branches wondering:

How do you give shade with so much gone?

And Jesus said:

Do not be troubled or needlessly concerned.

And then,

the sacrament of waiting began.

The sunrise and sunset watched with tenderness.

Clothing her with silhouettes

they kept her hope alive.

They helped her understand that

her vulnerability

her dependence and need

her emptiness

her readiness to receive

were giving her a new kind of beauty.

Every morning and every evening

they stood in silence

and celebrated together

the sacrament of waiting!

And Jesus said:

Now if that is how God cares for the wild flowers in the fields which are here today and gone tomorrow, will He not all the more care for you…?


  1. Beautiful words Emily!!

    "We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." C.S. Lewis
    We love you and miss you!!

  2. oh Emily! how inspiring, and transcendant your post is, and how applicable. thank you for sharing. i found your blog through Amy O'Mara' and i met at her birthday party a couple of years ago (I was the new neighbor down the street at the time!). my best to you in Africa, and all your journeys. hope to see you again someday!