I was sitting on a hilltop swing, marveling at the beauty of the forest beside me. Being early November in Texas, the leaves had begun to turn into bold, fiery reds and yellows. The sun was casting its amber rays into the pond before me and a cool breeze rustled the blazing leaves overhead, making them dance and sing. As I witnessed their worship, I anticipated all this season brings. Along with the campfires and pumpkin patches, this season is about bounty and harvest, gathering and feasting, resting and remembering, breaking bread and giving thanks. It is a cozying up, a settling down, and a turning in. Eventually, those singing leaves will silently blanket the forest floor. The dancing colors will fade into the stillness of winter. And I realized…
When my time comes, I want to die as beautifully as autumn.
For what is autumn if not a dying - a preparing for the long sleep? Our feathered friends take leave for warmer air and the woodland creatures collect and store. The trees sense the shorter days and become golden canopies before shedding their crowns altogether to brace for the cold darkness. Autumn knows winter is coming and she meets it with dancing and singing.
The wind whispers her song:
Winter is not the end.
Life will spring again.
We are in Good Hands.
It is offered by a fallen world in waiting. What beauty in this brokenness! If creation’s longing is this lovely, her groaning this glorious, imagine her song when all is made new and pure! It is no wonder she sings so joyously - so expectantly!
Yes, I want to die like autumn.
To gather my loved ones close to feast and remember. To go out giving thanks - for the joys of this life, to be sure, but even more for the gracious gift of an inheritance of life and joy forever. And to be so sure of this inheritance that I face my end with dancing and singing, a vibrant blaze of glory to the Life-Breather and Joy-Giver!
Like autumn, I know my winter lies ahead. My dying is inevitable. But unlike her, I may not have the privilege of sensing when my time is near. So if I wish to die well, I suppose what I am actually realizing is…
I want to live like autumn.