Change. Sometimes it felt like cool rain after a particularly smoldering day. Other times it felt dangerous. Like when the air becomes still right before the tornado whisks everything away. It never felt the same. But what I knew of change, was that it always led me to a place that I had never been before. And therefore, to me, it was always worth the storm.
I always love this time of year. The cool breeze is met with a magnificent array of colors in the trees—colors that warm the soul and create a deep sense of peace and readiness for the next season. The bright green leaves begin to shift to a variety of red, purple, yellow, orange, and brown hues, and the result is stunning.
Aside for my love of flannels, heated blankets, and warm baths, fall also reminds me of how beautiful transition periods can be. Sure, the leaves fall and are no more. But what once was, is to be reformed and redesigned into something completely new.
That’s not to say that every transition seems so pleasant and welcome at the time. Fall also reminds me of years ago when my father became terminally ill with brain cancer. He was seemingly fine one season, and gone the next. In that short time, I went through more emotions than I can count. I had a lot of tough emotions that I carried inside for a large portion of my life that stemmed from my often-difficult relationship with my father. I was simultaneously grieving the loss of him as a person and father, but also grieving the relationship that I had wanted with him, that would never be. This was a very tough time for me to go through.
At first, I remained shelled up, suffocated in a whirlwind of negativity that I could not see my way out from. Why me? Why him? Why now? I was enraged with God, or whatever higher power may be, and let this anger rule over me, locking myself in my room and trying to push out all of the thoughts that came up. I was drowning in pain.
I was not ready for this change. I thought my life was over, and just knew that I was not capable of making it through this. There was no light at the end of the tunnel, no sunny day after the rain. There was no escape—I knew that I would never be okay again.
However, in another season or two, I was okay again. I made it out on the other side alive. I had, in time, confronted the many feelings that I faced, and instead of letting them destroy me, I chose to let them help me heal.
I made amends with my father in some sense. He was unable to speak back to me by the time I had the courage to do so, but saying to him how I truly felt, and forgiving him and myself, freed me from the anguish that I held within me for so long. I spent a lot of time ensuring that he knew how much I loved him.
In doing this, I noticed that my memories shifted as well. I was able to see the past in a new, loving way, and was able to understand what once was from a new perspective. I had grown a new, deeper love for myself and for my father. I was stronger, and physically and mentally healthier than before. I was happier than before. I had not only survived a situation that I thought I could not, but I had grown the ability to know that I was capable of surviving anything. It took time, but the days eventually seemed brighter. My altered views on the past brought with them a new me, and just like that, the death of one season, brought with it new life, and the beginning of another.
As the world spins, it shifts. The shifts bring about new seasons, some that we view better than others, just as we do with the seasons of our own lives. Some feel cold, dark, and lonely. Others feel warm and joyous. But just as the world shifts, we too, can shift into something new—something wonderful. We aren’t always guaranteed of what comes with new seasons, but we can, with good intent, invite in the growth they may bring.
So, I choose to admire and appreciate these beautiful, magnificently colored leaves, knowing that these, too, will fall and die, just as they have in the past. But what comes next, is something I have never experienced before. The beauty in that opportunity excites me. I await the new season with open arms, and an open heart, knowing that what comes next is something that I can grow from, and something that I can look back on with gratitude. I invite you all to do the same and wish you the most splendid changes this fall.