Living in Southern California has its perks. One of the things I love to rub in the faces of those who live in incredibly cold or hot places is how truely fantastic our weather is all year long! (ok, the last 3 weeks I considered moving to Antarctica for a relief from this heat) But 48 weeks out of the year I'm a happy girl living in this land that gives me temperatures of 75 degrees all year long... Give or take 10-15 degrees depending on the season.
Seasons. Now that is something we don't have much of. Ive only heard stories of Winter bringing barren branches, snow angels and scarves. Those lifeless arms soon push out vibrant green leaves and colorful pedals announcing the arrival of spring. Spring gives way to summer and sun and peach cobblers that were given to us by the work of spring.
Celebrating continues as the leaves turn stunning colors of oranges yellows browns and reds. Fall is here and Pumpkin pie and Starbucks Christmas cups begin making apperances all pointing to one thing, Winter is on its way once again. Living in a place where I don't get to experience much of season, I think I have this fairytale like expectation of what they would be like (as is the same with much of my life, thank you disney!)
But there is the reality of living daily in each of these. Along with the anticiaption of playing in that first snow fall is the reality that it will be around for a long time. The snow isnt going any where and it just keeps coming. The cold won't let up. The sun won't shine. All around is death. The trees are naked. The flowers are gone, the grass has been taken over by the snow. Even the bears have gone into hiding! And tomorrow will bring more of the same. Who cares about making snow angels or curling up by the fire when all you want to do is crawl in a hole and wait until Spring comes.
Spring is here. You are no longer shoveling your way through the snow, but you are instead walking in the mud and muck it left. It's not pretty. It's gross actually. The once green, then orange leaves are still black and smelly as they make their way back into the earth. But their is a glimmer of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel as the lifeless trees begin to turn green once again. Everything is new. I have always loved spring. I loved looking out into our field of peaches and seeing pink blossoms sprinkled among the new leaves. But I dont think I ever realized that along with new growth mean pain and work. They dont call them growing pains for nothing! But all those 'growing pains' result in fruit. Fuzzy peaches waiting to be picked off the tree.
Summer has arrived. BBQs, swim parties, no school. Its a time to celebrate all of the hard work. Time to bask in the sunshine. But that sun can get to hot at times and we are left with burns. Soon we are longing for the heat to leave and and parents are waiting with baited breath for school to start again.
Fall has come. It's back to work. Back to school. Those beautifully colored leaves begin to fall. Raking them doesnt seem like much work when you get to run and jump in them. But they continue to fall and the raking never ends. The trees are soon empty, flowers are gone, life is hectic and that signals only one thing. Winter has come again.
We have been going though Eccesiastes at church. Ecc 3 talks about a time for everything under the sun. There is a season for all things. This has been a topic of discussion quite a bit. "What season are you in?" And its amazing to me how our physical seasons line up with seasons of life so perfectly. We are all in a different sesason. Some of us are in the darkness and death of Winter. Some are in the Joy and celebration of summer. Others are expereincing the falling of leaves in anticiaption of what they know is coming. I find myself in Spring. There is still some mud of Winter, the sun of summer is peaking its way in, but the pain of growth is very much there.
A simple statement was made. We cant skip season. Each one leads to the next. WHAT? you mean I cant stay in Summer forever? Being a farmers daughter, it makes sense to me how we are refered to as trees/plants in scripture. And I can see the changing of the seasons best in trees. - You are like a tree planted by streams of water. -I am vine, you are the branches. - Cutting off of the branches that dont bear fruit. Just as a peach tree NEEDS each and every season in order to produce the fruit it was intended to produce, so do we.
I spend so much time trying to hurry my way out of seeing my dead branches in winter, or trying to speed up the growth in spring, so I can enjoy the fruit in summer. However, that fruit probably isn't very good. It might still be green. Or there might not be enough sugar or flavor because it didnt soak up all that it was supposed to in said season.
I dont like being in this place. I dont like pain. I'm glad winter is gone, but there is lots of work to do. I have seen what needs to be pruned back. But now comes time to prune. Time to cut back so new growth can happen. Time to let those leaves push their way through. But this will make summer that much sweeter. Pressing into where I am at, allowing God to meet me there and letting him do what he does best. Gently caring, cleaning and watering his precious tree back to life so she can produce sweet,nourshing fruit that when consumed points back to the farmer.