"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in
the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I
cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to
depart and be with Christ, which is far better." (Phil 1:21-24 NKJV)
I love Autumn here in the mountains of West Virginia. The cool air and the
hum of the heater in the morning soon gives way to the warm breezes
flowing through the window fans in the afternoon. The delightful smell of
dry leaves fills the air and in the evening I can sometimes catch glimpses
of the deer feeding on the fallen apples from the apple tree in our
backyard. The sound of happy children riding their bikes makes a sweet
music for the ears as they play away the evening hours until darkness
arrives. All of this wonderful joy takes place too under the brilliance of
the mountains themselves. This time of the year they look like they were
painted by Heaven’s hand. Bit by bit the leaves on the trees transform
into glorious golds, radiant reds, and outrageous oranges. Beautiful
burgundies and browns soon appear too, as well as yellows that shine like
the sun itself. This time of the year always gives me a hint of what
Paradise itself must be like.
It really amazes me then that the phrase "the Autumn of our lives" is
always said with such fear. The very mention of it stirs up images of
aging, illness, and approaching death. I guess so many are afraid of that
last leaf falling that they fail to see the beautiful Spring that awaits them.
I think the Autumn of your life should instead be embraced with joy. It
should be the peak of a beautiful, colorful, and well-lived life. It
should be full of choosing love, sharing happiness, and helping others. It
should be filled with making yourself a better person and the world a
better place. It should be overflowing with peace, understanding, and
oneness with God.
May the Autumn of your life then shine as brightly as the leaves on these
mountains. May you live simply, love deeply, and grow daily. May your last
days be your best days. And may you walk through the fallen leaves knowing
that the journey leads not to death but to eternal life.