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When asked what my favorite season is, I used to say, without hesitation, autumn. I like the temperature, the colors, cozy sweaters, warm drinks, and apple picking that is normally turned into some kind of baked good. I like movie nights snuggled up on the couch when it looks as if it’s midnight but its only 7:00pm.

But to be honest, this year, summer was a close second because for the first time in a long while summer included a healthy dose of sunshine, a few lakeside weekends, and intentional time away with family. And maybe that’s the secret. Appreciating each season for what they have to offer.

Summer, for me, was marked by busyness, time with family, visits with friends, and several planned long weekends which often included one too many things packed into them. Summer was also trademarked by grocery shopping during unreasonable evening hours, late nights with good company, and unusual amounts of energy compared to minimal amounts of sleep.

But autumn? She tends to be known for a return to normalcy, steady work hours, and less night life. And while there are still moments of spontaneity, nature, and gatherings, I tend to turn inward and spend more time doing solitary things. I tend to read in a blanket or write with a candle lit. I like to bake and let the oven send an aroma through the house that hopefully doesn’t smell like a burnt chocolate chip.

I often need more sleep, I don’t wake up as easily, and in the evening, I tend to be absorbed by the couch with some variation of my laptop, a book or my dog lying across my lap. Sometimes I get annoyed, but I’m learning to lean into the differences. Because much like the summer solstice or autumn equinox marking a new season, events will mark the turn of a new page in our own lives. Maybe it’s a marriage, first child, diagnosis, or separation. We make room, take on new responsibilities, and learn to let go of others that no longer seem to fit our current stage of life.

As we enter into new seasons, both literally and figuratively, may we not be afraid to make changes. To reflect and take inventory of what’s working as well as what isn’t. May we not feel stuck to old ways that don’t serve us as they did in the past. Perhaps it’s time to try something new and take a healthy risk.

Maybe this season has left you feeling uncertain, with a lack of clarity, direction, or sense of purpose. Maybe you got the best news of your life, and you’re excited for the adventure ahead. Even good change causes stress, so no matter what the circumstance is, may you be patient with yourself as you adjust to new ways of living.

May you learn to be present when your mind tempts you to drift with expectation, hope, or worry. May you take care of your thoughts and nourish your body, so you can sustain yourself for the road ahead. May you pray often and discern your next right thing in love rather than fear. And may grace surprise you kindly and peace keep your heart at ease as you enter this new season.

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