Have you ever heeded the beckon of the fall? With each autumn we get to watch earth wobble into winter. And with each fall come lessons, a harvest of graces to color our lives and carpet the ground. As trees turn to fire, nature announces her blazing revolution, in showers ocher and orange gold. If ever were offered three wishes—as in the tales of children—my desire would be for autumn’s golden graces. Three unexpected gateways to wholeness, revealed in letting go, falling down and giving-back. If I could wish three graces for those I dearly love, it would be these alone: gratitude, tenderness, and humility. Fruit of wonder, gratitude is a gateway to joy, turning lack, loss, and letting go into gilded gift. Fruit of forgiveness, tenderness opens the way to healing, transfiguring pain into passion—love’s long-lasting shadow. Fruit of failure, humility is the low door to wisdom growing us back down to earth.
Mirroring the setting sun, these autumnal lessons are poured out in resplendent hues, for us to pore over. Like all presents, they come to life in the unwrapping and the giveaway. For every golden gift withheld surely turns to lead and weighs us down with worry or woe. Perhaps there is a burden you are carrying. Perhaps someone worries you. Perhaps a situation weighs heavily upon you. Welcome then, autumn’s invitation to grow by smallness and surrender, by putting down, by giving away, by letting go. There is no happiness without thankfulness, no healing without hurt, no wisdom without diminishment. When autumn slowly strips the landscape bare, to surround us in stark splendid death, may we in thanksgiving share the harvest, and scatter the seeds of dreams to come. And savoring the bounty of sunshine, showers, soil, and sweat, may you seed peace, sow forgiveness, leave the leaves, and let go!
—from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace
by Joseph Grant