The shoes my dad always wore until they had holes in the bottom once embarrassed me. Today, if I had a pair of those shoes, I’d want to bronze them and display them prominently in my life and home!
Providing for others always was more important to my dad than the clothes he wore or the car he drove. It’s strange… the things we take away or take to heart as the years pass, don’t you think?
More and more I have come to believe that the healing hands of time are indeed the greatest healers.
Ah, that’s easy.
Time and distance allow perspective.
In the midst of “life” it often is hard to have any at all, but when perspective eventually comes it changes everything. As we distance ourselves from so many painful or even exhilarating happenings in our lives, well… truth emerges.
You think you are more aware of “truth” while you are in the midst of a glorious wedding celebration, the joyful birth of a child, the tragic loss of a loved one, the failure of a major business to which you devoted yourself and all your resources?
Not at all. Truth emerges later after perspective comes into play.
And that is why the fall has always been my favorite time of the year. It started very early in my life. It is usually triggered by that first breeze in September that has a little bit of chill in it.
That’s when I know that soon the leaves will begin to change and eventually fall and once more I will behold the nakedness of the trees. I will gaze in awe at the survivors which proudly stand displaying the scars the year has given them.
I will walk through the forest and observe the fallen limbs, the ever changing underbrush, the countless critter retreats (resorts, in some cases!) that animals have created for themselves… and I will discover the tree deep in the woods that fell back in the summer when that loud clap of thunder awakened me.
I will drive the roads of rural Georgia and observe how the final efforts of summer have neatly prepared the yards and fields for their dormant months. I will note the little tufts of cotton the machinery left behind… smell the peanut fields while the last of the harvest in brought in and watch eagerly as the pecan harvest begins.
My heart will leap with joy at the first puff of smoke I see rise from an old farmhouse chimney…
All these things start to prepare me for the Thanksgiving Season. Just a day would never cut it for me. It has to be a season for this is the time of year in which perspective takes deeper root.
It is in this changing autumn environment that I look once more at where God has brought me from and where I could have been if it were not for His grace and mercy. As everything else prepares to go dormant for the winter, my faith suddenly grows by leaps and bounds.
This looking back time is when I refuel, I suppose. I have never fully understood it, but I do recall being in third grade the first time I ever had it happen. I was on the school playground and it was late September and suddenly I was aware of the chill in the air – the first of the season and of how it made me shiver a bit and hug myself. That may have been the first time I knew how good it felt to hug yourself…
Something happened that day. Something special… Something that makes me know now that a bronzed pair of my dad’s shoes with the holes in the bottom would mean more to me than the finest and most elegant pair of Italian heels ever could.
But then, almost immediately upon entertaining such a thought I am reminded that it’s not the shoes, but where they take you that really matters.
Perspective reminds me that it is the hearts and lives we walk into and out of year after year that cause the scars and prompt the growth that makes the forest of my life all I need it to be for myself and for others to whom it offers refuge.