Cliche Metaphores + Dying Leaves = Deep Thoughts

Posted on October 28, 2010


>Using Autumn as a metaphor for change in life seems so cliche. However, if you live somewhere, like we do, where the changing colors deciduous leaves is so dramatic, it’s hard not to get sucked into some deep contemplation on account of having the erie sense you are living inside a Thomas Cole painting. Current contemplative reflections have included the evolving awareness of how much our lives will change when we move to Kenya and (on a much lighter and strictly weather-related note) a dread of the coming winter (which is predicted to parallel the winter of 08-09 with its 6+ feet of snow; oh joy).

Here are some pics of the changing leaves in our neighborhood.

Moving to Kenya our lives will change. A lot.
As more time passes since our trip to East Africa this past summer, we are beginning to see more clearly how our lives will change when we move there. Already we are being changed. Being confronted with the poverty, the need for aviation, the beautiful people, and something else that can’t quite be described only experienced, has ushered us into a season in which our perspectives are changing, our values are shifting and our hearts are undergoing some major renovations.

What is really important? How much money should we be spending on rent? How much space do we really need to live comfortably? How important is comfort anyway? Do we really need all our stuff? What does it mean to be thankful for what we have, but not find our comfort and identity in it? How should we really be spending our time? Perhaps these questions are to be expected of anyone planning to move to Africa, but we find ourselves thinking about them here and now, both in regards to our future, but also our present. These questions (and a couple dozen more) seem to creep into every conversation and decision. We look to scripture for fixed answers to these questions and see that we are confronted with the challenge (and freedom) to “walk in the Spirit.” Somehow, there are no right answers, yet we embrace the Big Story we know we are a part of and use that to help us answer these questions.

There is a Redeemer, and He is redeeming brokenness. He brings beauty out of ashes and light out of darkness. He cares for the poor, He is zealous for justice, He sacrificed Himself and is calling us to sacrifice ourselves. To sacrifice our time, our perceived need for comfort and predictability and to sacrifice our own narcissistic desires to serve people who will likely never repay us (except for, of course, with their smiles and joy, which is worth more than anything money can buy).

Just give me an electric blanket and down booties and I may survive
On a much (and I do mean very much) lighter (and some might add trivial) note, Fall has been a daily reminder that Winter is coming. Already, I have begun to wear long underwear almost every day, and already I am drinking 4-6 cups of hot tea every day just so I can hold the warm mug in my hands and keep them warm. I am fairly certain that my tolerance for cold has greatly decreased over the past 5 years, and I am thinking this must be God’s way of preparing me to relocate to a tropical climate. However, I still have to make it through the next 6 months of frigid Spokane tundra.

Perhaps it sounds like I am complaining (and maybe I am), but there is one thing that the decreasing temperatures is doing (maybe it the whole colored leaves, living in a painting, provoking deep thoughts thing) and that is that I am continually confronted with how easily my joy is dependent on being comfortable. If I am comfortable, I am happy. If I am uncomfortable, suddenly the wicked witch of the West (or at least a distant cousin) shows up. I am unmotivated to get out of bed (the floor is cold), accomplish anything (which would require throwing off my blanket and getting off the couch), or even invite people over (mostly because I would have to do the first two things. In a word, I become lazy and selfish. Ick. And all this just because we can’t afford to heat our apartment to a charming 85 degrees. So, I am learning (or at least praying that I am) to not let my joy or my contentment be dependent upon what the thermostat says. Amy Carmichael is my hero in this. If only I could have an ounce of her joy and peace in trying circumstances (And yes, I fully realize that being slightly less warm than I would like can hardly be called a trial.) I am consoled, though, to know that the God who gave her joy and peace in her circumstances is the same God who provides for me to have hot cups of tea, and who can ultimately give me joy and peace in Him, if only I would seek it there rather than in being roasty toasty all the time.

Here are some fun pics from going apple picking.