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"Do not Lose Heart"


Marigolds

O, how the flowers have bloomed this fall! After a hot, dry August in New York, the refreshing rains and cool breezes of Autumn brought new life to the petunias, lifted the heads of the cosmos and imbued the hardy marigolds to show off their golden coats.


I love the unexpected surprises of nature. When the forecasters and pundits predict doom and gloom, it secretly thrills my heart to see God break through the predictions with favor anew.


It’s why you should never give up on your flower beds in August. Keep watering, perhaps trim back a little to make room for the final push. But whatever you do, don’t let a setback convince you to give up.


Could this be true in life as well? Coming up on my 60th birthday next year, I do sense a shortening of days and a little more effort required to do the things that came so natural to me just a few years past. But perhaps like the garden this is not the time to shrink back. Perhaps there is a shine that comes from weathering time. True, it is not the supple spring of fresh green leaves, nor is it the buds of promise. No, it is the strength of roots that have pushed down into the soil and sent out reinforcements. The coat may be a little worn and the edges frayed a bit, but through time and repetition a new grace emerges. A faithfulness is found. A meaning is distilled.


We were not meant to have our final expression here on this earth. We were meant to produce seeds for future growth and to overcome the tests of time.


When I think of how important my own grandparents were to me, I am reminded of this truth. Those two old souls somehow connected me to the past with a steadiness that I could not comprehend yet could sense and (under) appreciate. When I remember them, I could almost cry: cry because I did not have the foresight to tell them how much they meant to me, cry because I know now that seeing my life gave them life and hope and meaning, cry because I have that privilege now to be a sturdy link for the generations to come.


Cry because, well at this age, I don’t need much to make me cry.


There’s a beautiful sentiment that comes in this season of the calendar and this season of life. While the world would tell us that we need to be young to be beautiful – this message is like those weather predictors who cannot see that some of God’s most glorious work is done in the final chapters.


I am reminded of the words of Saint Paul:

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 (Berean Study Bible)


Happy Fall, y’all