Change Can Be Beautiful

It was the fall of 1978. I was 14 years old. My mom sat me down one night and explained to me that she and my step-dad, (who was the only dad I had known), were getting a divorce. Change was coming. I didn’t know what that meant and how it would really affect our family. I was afraid, I was sad, and I didn’t understand why this change was happening.

One day soon after my step-dad moved out, my mom came into my room before I got up for school and said these beautiful words: "Tracey, let’s play hooky today!” This had never happened before, and it never happened again, but that day a change was in the air. Mom took off from work, and we went to Patapsco State Park. No agenda, no plan at all. We just walked around the park looking at the beautiful fall foliage, barely talking, just being in companionable silence. My mom communicated so much to me that day. I know her heart was breaking, and so was mine, and there was nothing to do about it. We just had to surrender to the change. The colors of the leaves changing all around us gave my young heart some hope. Change can be beautiful.

So many years later, I wonder if that sweet memory with my mom is why I love fall so much. I feel invigorated by the cooler temperatures. I love the spices in the air, the crackling of a cozy fire, the brilliant colors of the leaves, and the crunch under my feet of those same leaves as they say goodbye. I love the smell of the earth as it welcomes grass and flowers and life back into the soil. I love the dirt on the trails, the way the blue of the sky contrasts against shadowy trees, the way my mug feels in my hands on a crisp fall morning. Fall is a beautiful aching.

My heart is full of remembering and longing for more at the same time. All my senses are on high alert, and I know that I don’t know what’s coming. Something about that feels so exciting; and yet, I tend to cling to sameness and familiarity as my security. Fall is God’s grace to me, helping me let go of my comfort zones and complacencies. The way He has established the rhythm of seasons seems to be such a kindness for those of us who fear change. Fall has a way of easing us in to something new.

Over the years, I have sought to lean into that Autumn ache and accept God’s invitation to change. And I have learned that I can honor what was and is and be truly grateful for it, while at the same time being open to whatever God wants to do next. Change can be beautiful and every season has its contribution to make in growing us into who we are becoming.

Co-host of Tracey and Dave on SHINE-FM.