God’s Love Is An Eternal Season

We stood on October’s front porch and the door opens without our knocking. Autumn is upon us. Ready or not. The leaves of color begin to fall. They are blown against the bluest skies by breezes that mingle their coolness with the sun’s warmth. Humidity flies southward with the Monarch butterflies and beside the birds that have sung for us since spring nudged last winter out of the way.
There is so much to distract us in pleasant ways, to keep our minds off the coming darkness and cold that brings the inevitable scarves, ice-scrapers and our own frozen breath that hangs like a mist before sticking, frost-like, to windshields.
If you like sports, there’s football, baseball’s postseason, and soccer. There are fall festivals and school fundraisers, open windows and reading under a tree without swatting away gnats.
For those who love the great outdoors, fields, mountains and streams are now accessible in increasing beauty and inviting temperatures.
But always, lurking around the next football quarter and soccer half, is the bottom of Indian Summer’s ninth inning.
We can turn on all of the lights we want but the sun’s going to keep setting earlier and rising later. Soon enough, the landscape is going to take on funereal tones.
Melancholy finds me each year soon after the World Series ends, the sadness deepening when Daylight Savings Time follows the butterflies and birds, returning only when they do next spring.
But the seasons are blessings. All of them. They are different movements to the same symphony, necessary companions that allow the world of plowed fields and fulsome woods to rest and rejuvenate.
Without winter, there could be no spring.
Without darkness, who would recognize the light?
Walking through the woods and fields surrounding Appomattox Court House National Historical Park recently, I found a reminder that God is present in all of our seasons. Nature’s. And those within us, as well.
On a late September morning, I rounded a bend in a trail and could not believe my eyes.
Brilliant yellow crocuses in rich profusion!!
How, I wondered, could this possibly be? In all of my life I had never, ever seen crocuses shoot up from the ground and spread wide their sunbeam color in the fall.
The rest of the world, in a voice that was beginning to rise above a whisper, was speaking autumn, but these flowers, dozens of them clustered around the base of a tree, were declaring spring.
The sight felt miraculous and the spiritual message soon blossomed:
God’s love and grace are season-less. The rich bloom of God’s love is endlessly limitless and eternally everlasting. There is no Opening Day, no final Super Bowl. Not for God’s fathomless affection.
Most reassuring of all is that, like those crocuses, God’s love is not a miracle.
The flowers, I learned, are Autumn Crocuses. I’d never heard of them before, never seen them. But all of us can plant them in our own gardens to enjoy every fall.
Just as we can open our hearts to the love God yearns to cultivate inside us, the kind of love that can turn our seasons of the human soul inside out, blooming most brilliantly when it seems most impossible that we could even feel one petal.
Flowers come and go. Leaves fall. The final whistle blows on every season. But God’s love keeps playing beyond the final out of what seems to be our last inning. There is always a bloom for us somewhere around the next bend in our heart’s road.

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