Saying “so long” to summer has never been easy for me. Perhaps part of it was genetic—my Irish ancestors probably longed to see sunlight, while the Italian part of my family tree was so accustomed to Brother Sun they could not imagine being parted from him. While I was a good student, I did not relish slipping out of my little chaise lounge underneath our backyard tree and sauntering back to school (I never was one to rush—especially to the sound of the school bell).
Bidding farewell to the sunny season actually became harder as I grew older. My great aunt, a Sister of St. Joseph with a cheery smile and an ever-present joy, died in September, as did my Mom’s foster mother, the grand lady I called Grandma Hazel. Each year, when I left August behind, I wondered what heartache September might bring.
My father suffered a diabetic stroke one September evening, ushering in a period of sickness that ended with his death. Five years later, on a September afternoon, two days before her birthday, my mother ended her battle with bladder cancer as a hospice chaplain sat beside her, repeating the Marian prayers of her youth.
Through the grace of our loving Father, I have a new perspective on September this year. I recognize the crosses of Septembers past, but I am grateful for the strength that I gained in carrying them. What I once considered the “death days” of September, I now view as the precious, holy days when my loved ones were born to eternal life.
In hindsight, I recognize that, despite the challenges I have faced during autumn, I have also experienced amazing blessings: the beginning of a successful college career … the realization that I was pregnant … the many, many happy birthday celebrations for my mother.
With the darkness of despair giving way to the light of hope, I have new appreciation for the beauty of fall: the russet-colored leaves along the mountainsides of my hometown … the azure skies … the brilliant sunsets.
I am happy and relieved to say I no longer dread fall. I have fallen in love with it, and with the God that makes all things new again.
What blessings are you experiencing now that will help you to fall in love with fall?
Copyright 2017 Maria V. Gallagher