Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. The cooler weather, the colored leaves, and warm soup in my stomach make it so. We’re not quite there yet, but the countdown is in effect. I usually associate spring with growth, things returning, and signs of new life. But currently, autumn seems to be working overtime.
This fall will bring with it not only foliage and pumpkin spice, but a new vaccine to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron subvariant. After the outdoor socializing of summer, this vaccine will provide me with a better sense of protection as we head indoors. I’m not a fan of injections; but thus far, the vaccines and booster shots in addition to consistent mask wearing and God’s grace, have kept our household COVID free.
I (in addition to most parents I know) am also thrilled to see students making a full return to school! I love seeing the kids waiting for the school bus on my morning walk. My many teacher friends are looking forward to a return to normalcy. They’re readying their classrooms and adding masks and hand sanitizer to the usual back-to-school supplies.
Churches and other houses of worship are also returning to inperson services and bible studies. After online services seated at St. Sofa for so long, I look forward to wearing my Sunday best and turning to my neighbor to say, “God is good!” There’s nothing like the feeling of fellowshipping after the service when my heart and spirit are full of happiness, hope, and conviction.
In an effort to take a page from nature’s playbook, I am striving to be like the autumn trees and shed things I don’t need, as well as those that do not serve me well. As the leaves change colors, I am trying to change my outlook after two years of isolation and only a few months of protracted socializing. My hope is that by the time the trees begin to shed their leaves, I will have shed my fears. While the pandemic isn’t completely over, it does seem to be more manageable and I need to adapt and change.
For now, I’ll sip my iced tea and enjoy the last signs of summer: the perfectly blue sky, the smell of charcoal working its magic to flavor the chicken on the grill, the cacophony of crickets outside my bedroom window, the glow of fireflies, the laughter of children playing outdoors, and the whir of the blender making icy drinks to beat the heat and quench my thirst.
And when I feel a bit nervous or fearful regarding COVID, I’ll make a pot of hot tea and remember Philippians 4:6-7: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”