Deep breath. Slow, even breaths. Things may feel out of your control. Remember those tiny movements inside your body that are constantly going. Things you’ve become so good at controlling you don’t even notice anymore. Your heart beats. Your lungs fill. Your blood pulses. Your eyes blink. You’re constantly hearing and seeing and smelling. You’ve decided to ignore your nose completely, even though you see it. You are in control of each tiny movement. Deep breath. Focus in.
Deep breath. Take in the calm of today. Slowly take in renewal with each breath. Fill your lungs. Let your blood be filled with calm, renewing oxygen. Let that pulse through you. Let it create calm inside of you. Deep breath.
Autumn is my favorite season. Hands down. That’s true of almost everyone I know, though, with some combination of Summer and Spring in there at second place. Me? Winter kicks it at second place. When everything about the World seems dead on the outside. We look at the World and perceive the Cold from the warmth of our homes. Winter really though is just honest living. It’s life showcasing its Death and Brokenness. Winter is the world saying, “Here I am. This is what I look like without any show. This is me. This is all I have. I’m naked branches. I’m hard ground. I’m brown grass. I’m still, matte water. What you’re seeing is exactly who I am, but I’m going to keep trying and keep living.” How is Winter anything other than beautiful and honest?
Right now, though, I’m Autumn. I’m making a colorful show of my Pain and Failings and the tiny things that make me Me. The tiny things that make feel like I haven’t failed completely. Not yet. But as Autumn rolls in every year it’s only a matter of time before the Winds of Life come in and shake my Leaves from me leaving me cold and bare to the World. It’s a real knock to my already shaky Pride. The funny thing is that it does happen in a semi-seasonal pattern. My Pride takes a hit every year around the same time. Mid-Autumn sets in, and my Heart wanders. I find myself distracted from Life’s greater Purposes and get wrapped up in Pettiness and Pride.
As to my Pride, I’ve a funny sense of it. I present a comedic Pride. A sort of this-is-me-saying-how-awesome-I-am-for-a-laugh-knowing-full-well-I-don’t-remotely-believe-that-and-I-can-see-you-don’t-either Pride. While the rest of my actual Pride looks a lot more like me doing the best I can just to keep myself together. A silly goal. That’s not my job. I’m not meant to hold the World together. That’s a job for Christ made possible through his blood. As Life’s struggles pull at me and tear away any sense of self I have, Christ’s blood pours into the cracks and reminds me that Darkness is not my identity. In fact, the Darkness that I so often let define me is the very thing I should be running from. Christ has given us a beautiful opportunity to step into the Light, naked as Winter.