A change is in the air. I can feel it. I’m sure you can too. And while it is human nature to be creatures of habit, this particular change is something I look forward to each and every year. Fall. ( Or Autumn, if you wanna get all fancy pants on me.) There’s a crispness in the air. Not enough to unpack the full winter wardrobe quite yet, but the humidity of summer is finally gone. (Thanks! Buh-bye!) It’s just cool enough for my fave type of ensemble…skinny jeans, boots and a slouchy, oversized sweater. Possibly a toque or scarf for good measure, if ya wanna get crazy! If it could just stay fall all year round, that would suit me just fine. Not to mention there’s Thanksgiving (which just passed us here in the Great White North). Then there’s hot chocolate, stoking up the fireplace. Ok so mine is electric at the moment but it still gives heat and one day I’ll have one that’s legit. Complete with Dick Van Dyke as my chimney sweep and dancing cartoony penguins! (That last bit was maybe a bit of a stretch but a gal can dream, amiright?…Also, if you didn’t pick up on that classic movie reference we can’t be friends. )
Another favourite part of fall, for me at least, is going for a hike amidst all the changing colours. Nature is absolutely gorgeous this time of year. The bright reds, golden yellows and burnt oranges are amazing. And of course the more rural you travel the more magnificent the colours are. I’ve always wanted to travel around more this time of year just for the view. Northern Ontario and Old Quebec city in particular. One day I will.
As beautiful as the colours are this time of year, it’s a reminder of change. Of one season turning into another. It’s something that we can count on, year after year. It’s also a reminder of letting go. Which is what the leaves are doing, essentially. They’re letting go because they’re dying. Every leaf that was once lush, green and healthy all throughout Summer, are now vibrant with colour because they can no longer hang on to what once was. They are dead weight as far as the tree is concerned. The tree that they were attached to can no longer provide them the nutrients that they need to survive so they have no choice but to let go. To fall to the ground and eventually, in a few short months, be completely covered with that white stuff that we shan’t speak about just yet. In a little while, we won’t even know those leaves are there. Underneath all that white stuff, those leaves will either get raked up and thrown in the trash or the compost pile, will be blown away by the wind or some will be left on the ground to decompose naturally.
The decomposing process usually takes about 3-6 months up to one year, depending on how big the pile is. It can also depend on how small the pieces are. The smaller the leaves’ pieces are , the faster they will decompose. And while falling and being torn to pieces means “death” for the leaves and being buried under ground during the winter season, it also means that those same decomposed leaves have the potential to become nutrients and rich soil for the spring. A season that is rich with life and growth. What seems like disaster in one season is actually being set up for growth, life and beauty in another.
It is never easy to see something disastrous or painful as something that has the potential to be beautiful down the road. It takes guts. It takes discipline. It takes a hell of a lot of faith and grit. It takes vision and work. And hope. Hope can be dangerous. When you hope you’re taking a chance. When you hope, you’re not allowing your past to dictate your future. When you hope, you are refusing to be a prisoner of that broken heart. You are choosing freedom instead.
You are first, acknowledging the reality of the situation. This is important. Sweeping it under the rug or pretending it’s something completely different than what it actually is, is detrimental to growth. To any kind of change. Acknowledging the reality of a painful situation is crucial. Admitting that it hurts. Admitting what was done and the damage it caused. If you don’t name it, you can’t heal it. It’s important to name it, acknowledge it, sit with it and allow yourself to feel every last drop. There is no official time frame for this stage. It’s different for everyone. As important as this is, it is also equally important that you don’t stay there and decorate it.
At some point, you must make the decision to peel yourself up off the floor. It’s just as unhealthy to sit and wallow than it is to never have even acknowledged it at all. Picking yourself up doesn’t mean that the hurt has passed. It doesn’t mean that the tears have left and will never return. It doesn’t mean that the healing has been complete. It simply means that you are making the choice not to remain in “what was”. The what ifs, what could’ve beens, what should’ve beens can’t be reversed or revisited. And constantly staying in that frame of mind has been known to drive it’s victims to the point of near insanity (including, yours truly!). It’s a horrible place to dwell in and does absolutely nothing to serve your future.
Since my boys have left I have gone over and over in my mind what I did that was so wrong. Or what I could have done differently so that they wouldn’t have wanted to leave. Maybe if I would have said or done something different along the way we might still have a great relationship right now. They might want to talk to me. To spend time with me. It’s driven me to tears. It’s caused me sleepless nights. A copious amount of stress to the point of experiencing my very first anxiety episode. (something I had never struggled with before I went through the last 3 years. And something I am relieved has subsided somewhat, since this whole debacle has officially ended back in January).
I am finally at a point of acceptance in this particular situation. There’s nothing more I can do on my end. I have intentionally had to make the decision to not only pick myself up off the floor, but now to finally move forward with my life. Not giving up hope that one day our relationship will be completely restored. This step of acceptance has also bled into every other area of my life. I am quicker now to accept the changing of seasons. To accept rejection and choose to see it as re-direction. As difficult as that may be. To accept when something is out of my control and not to linger or entertain something that is no longer there.
This step of acceptance and releasing control is crucial to finally being able to move forward. Moving forward, just like getting up off the floor doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt or didn’t happen. It simply means that you realize that you, beautiful one, still deserve good things. You deserve to be loved wholeheartedly and not just when it is convenient. You deserve to be seen, and heard. You deserve to walk in and embrace who God intended you to be. Every broken piece of you. Because you worked so damn hard to put yourself back together again to do so. Because your story deserves to be told.
And so, while in the waiting and doing the work simultaneously, I take the necessary steps that lead toward an unknown future. Leaving it in the hands of an all knowing God. With that “dangerous” kind of hope. That what withered in the fall, and was buried during the long, cold winter months will be used for something beautiful when Spring finally rolls around again. And it always does.