A time to reflect on relationships
Autumn is a time of beauty and change from the old to the new – and a time of relationships! I love autumn, and I love what it teaches me about relationships!
Autumn’s change is in the change of the season – from summer to fall, from green to cascades of color: brown, red, yellow, orange, and scarlet. Dark evergreens grow darker still, and bushes and shrubs change shades of green. Just so, we have opportunities to accept change in relationships, and to add additional relationships.
Old is out, new is in
There is a chestnut oak tree in our backyard. This tree never drops its leaves until February or March. The only reason this chestnut oak drops its leaves is because there are new leaves pushing out. Those old leaves need to go before the new leaves can grow.
If our chestnut oak tree could talk, it would probably – as the leaves drop off its limbs – say something like “Things will never be the same!”
Things won’t be the same because time keeps marching on. Changes come and changes go.
Even though change can be hard, and we sometimes do wish we could rock that little one just one more time or repeat that grade with our favorite teacher . . . we can’t for time keeps moving, the leaves keep dropping, and the new leaves are pushing new growth.
Change happens and life continues. We must constantly adjust to the new – and release the old. There are two areas of change that are particularly hard. These two things are opportunities and relationships. Last week, I talked about opportunities. Today, I will talk about relationships.
Some relationships come and go. Last month, I attended my 50th high school reunion. I saw folks I’d not seen for 30, 40, 50 years — friends with whom I shared a past. In some ways, it seemed that we had never parted ways. Yet, we are different than we were then. None of us could stay in that past and hang onto those relationships. Those relationships were crucial for me in those years of high school, but time moved on, and each of us moved on. Some of those relationships have endured, but not all of them could because I’ve had other experiences (nursing school, working, marriage, moving, motherhood).
Sometimes I’d like to go back and be a little girl again, and hear my mama call us in for suppertime. After we’d played outside for hours, we rushed to the kitchen to eat – and never realized how time was moving on. Yet, we can never go back to those days.
Relationships are the same way. Relationships change because we move on – or we change – or both. Other relationships change because there’s a disruption or a rift. Some of those rifts are our fault, and some of them are not our fault.
That’s when we need to choose to let those leaves fall – and allow God to usher in something else. It’s not healthy to hang onto those “leaves” because we don’t want things to change – or we want things to stay the same – or we will miss that person or that friendship.
That’s when we need to learn to know God in a deeper way than before. He is able to fill the void of shattered relationships. If you’ve experienced this, then you already know!
Welcoming new relationships
Rather than trying to make sure we feel safe and secure in our friendships, we need to open our hearts and our circle to others and to new opportunities. This keeps us from becoming stagnant. It’s not easy and it’s not something we want to do – because the relationships where we are familiar are the most comfortable. We like the colors of our leaves. God doesn’t ask us to be comfortable – He asks us to be faithful, and that includes faithfulness in relationships.
To build new relationships, we must reach out to others who are not normally in our circle – whether it’s a family member, a neighbor, or someone we meet in other venues. We should widen our circles so we can grow and help others.
This autumn, embrace the opportunities God gives you in Kingdom work. Embrace the opportunity to develop relationships that build up others and/or build the Kingdom.
When God brings change, we must allow the leaves to fall and welcome new growth, embracing His plan for our lives. This includes relationships, the most difficult part of any season of life.
Photo credits: pixabay.com (leaf) and Gertrude Slabach (gourds)