The leaves on the tree that fills my living room window are slowly changing. Little specks of yellow are dancing around in the green before they gently float their way to rest on the ground three stories down.

It may still be in the 90’s, but signs that the season is changing are all around. The days are slowly getting shorter, Starbucks is selling pumpkin spice lattes, weekends are filled with football and the longing in my heart to wear boots and a scarf is growing larger.

Seasons change.

It’s one of those things about this life we live that we have no control over. We can’t stop the leaves from turning, or the freezing air from chilling our face. Flowers will bloom again, and the summer sun will  heat the air. And just as you start to believe it will never get cold again, you notice leaves falling.

The change is welcomed by some, hated by others, and walked through by all.

I’m not really a winter girl. Sure, I like to get cozy by a fire and drink hot chocolate. I like visiting my family in Philadelphia for the holidays and seeing actual snow. I like the sting on my cheeks when I step outside. And then about a month of that passes, and I’m ready for it to end. I’m ready for sunshine,  longer days, and swimsuits.

Despite my preference, the seasons change when they will.  I’ve currently walked through 24 winters, and no amount of despising the cold will keep that number from climbing one notch each year.

Life is a set of seasons. Some are filled with joy and freedom. The ones that make you feel like you’re on top of a mountain and can see for miles. Others are filled with broken hearts and lack of sleep. With days when it takes every ounce of energy and discipline to get out of bed.

Regardless of the season you’re in, there’s one thing you can count on: it will not always be like this.

For those of you in a hard season, those are sweet words. For those in a joyful season, sobering ones.

More and more I’m learning to accept the seasons as they come, and quit striving to control and change things I have no authority over. The season I’m in right now- the community we have, a steady job, writing more, being newly married – I’m not sure when it will end, but once it’s over my life will never again be exactly like it is right now.

I don’t want next summer to arrive only to discover that I missed out on fall, winter and spring. I want to live my life- every emotion, sound, taste, sight and experience. The crazy times and the peaceful ones- I want to engage with my life, to claim the season I’m in right now as exactly right. To spend my energy being present instead of exhausting myself by living in my dreams.

For me, this summer was a slow, calm season. Our calendars were pretty open. We took vacations, and spent many nights at home with no agenda. We went to bed early because we could. With the change of seasons, I can feel the hustle and bustle trying to overtake the calm. Our schedules are filling up, dinner is a shorter affair, we’re waking up earlier and going to sleep later.

The lessons of summer, of that slower time, are not lost. No instead, they are necessary for this next season. I find myself walking into the fall with a fresh perspective- one that says it’s ok to slow down, to rest. One that doesn’t define my worth by how productive or busy I am, but by the condition of my heart.

I’m walking into fall thankful- for the season that just ended and how it accomplished just what it needed to in my heart, for the season we’re stepping into and all the unknown that it holds.

*photo by the awesome, kate stafford

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