Autumn and the Spiritual Journey

autumn leaves

The natural course of the seasons can mirror the movements within our spiritual lives, and we needn’t be in mid-life by our calendar years to find ourselves in an autumnal season as we walk with the Lord. We come to autumn at any age. Autumn is a time of transition—green turning to gold, brown and blonde fading to gray. Autumn is the season for reaping. The fields are high. Our work is yielding its fruit. The grain is ripe for the harvest. We have become good at our jobs and built careers. Our families are growing or grown. We ourselves are ripening to wisdom.

For those of us who work with a school year calendar, autumn is not only a season of gathering. While January 1 may be the official start of the new year, and spring may be the season of new beginnings, anyone in education knows that autumn brings its own opportunity for a fresh start. The season is full of crisp notebooks, sharpened pencils, and new clothes. There is a chill in the air, crunching leaves under foot, and early anticipation of the holidays.

Autumn is a season not only of reaping but also for turning up the earth and planting. Where in springtime we plant tender seeds and sprouts whose green shoots we await anxiously, in autumn we bury bulbs and impossibly named rhizomes, ugly lumps strangely filled with possibilities.

What we sow in autumn rests, hidden in the ground to be hardened and readied through the long, cold winter. We wait amid trees shedding their leaves and the anticipation of ice and snow. We plant in faith, because it may be long before we again see the green sprouts of daffodil and crocus and lily appearing through the chilling soil.

  • In what season of life do you find yourself? Are you still in the newness of springtime? The high days of summer? The transition of autumn? The settling of winter?
  • Can you see the spirit of autumn in different parts of your spiritual journey? When have you had the opportunity for reaping and gathering in? Of planting bulbs whose flowering could come only after a hard freeze?

Told through the lens of changing seasons, four women share their individual, spiritual wisdom in Daily Inspiration for Women.

About Chris Sullivan 5 Articles
Chris Sullivan is a writer, speaker, and spiritual director-in-training. Chris works within her own Roman Catholic faith community as well as in interdenominational Christian ministry in the areas of faith formation, training, and emotional and spiritual healing work. Chris lives in the Denver metropolitan area with her husband of 20+ years and their three children.

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