Autumn used to be my favorite season. It was the slow build towards Christmas – Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving, and the final crescendo of Advent, gradually growing excitement and joy with each passing day. It was the flash of defiant color flaming bright against the shortening days and cooling nights. It was the sharp relief of heat breaking like a sudden smile on a stern face. It was the beginning of a new school year with new classes and things to learn and a definite schedule after the chaotic fun of summer. It was apples ripening and pumpkins to be carved and pot pies pulled steaming from the oven. It was russet and gold and amber and deep brown turning all the world the warm rich colors of wooden bookshelves and leather-bound books – nature and library in one.
And I started out this autumn so well, taking the kids up north to try to see the changing leaves, going to local fall festivals, painting with the warm colors of fall, carving pumpkins – and then it all fell apart, in the fading glow of Halloween, as the realities of four birthdays and Thanksgiving and Advent and Christmas coming all hit me. If autumn has always been for me the season of growing anticipation of coming joy, than this year it feels like the season of growing anxiety about coming struggles. I hate that the same beautiful things I once loved, that have always been so special to me, are now mocking me for my inability to fully enjoy and live in them like I used to. I want to make beautiful traditions for my family, to give them the love of all the seasons of the year that I have always had (for all things are beautiful in their own way, or have the potential to be redeemed into beauty), and all I can feel is shame at my inability to do so – or to even see that beauty myself, anymore.
I just can’t wait for it to be over, this year. For the dead and barren branches of winter to take over. For the lights and colors and gifts and effluence of friends and family to be gone, and in the cold January air to be able to take up the tasks of everyday life again without the expectations of the holidays weighing on my shoulders. Beauty is too high a standard to live by, when I’m the one who has to create it in my home. Like a flame-tinged leaf myself, I’m swaying in the strain of the autumn wind and soon I must break and fall – only I can’t let myself and I have to hold on until the wind passes and the still of the winter brings peace.
5 thoughts on “struggling with autumn”
Oh Kristina! I’m sorry this is troubling you.
Have you seen Jill Simons’ “A Beauty Full Advent: 24 days of reflection on the beauty around us that points endlessly to God”? It sounds like that study might be just the sort of something that could make the season bearable. Maybe it could help you see the beauty again?
Jill’s workbook is available as part of the Catholic Mom Bundle this week, in case you’re interested. If not, no pressure. I will pray for peace for you. ❤
Thank you so much for your prayers. I have slowly been building up some peace and emerging from what was threatening to be a relapse of my depression – I even am getting some motivation back! Just in time for my hormones to fluctuate and mess it all up again but still! Even before I read your comment I was thinking to myself, someone must be praying for me because otherwise I’d still be floundering about in the gloom, and now I see that it was you 🙂 so thank you again 🙂
Well, maybe this is a year for quiet and received, and not for blazing beauty? You are remembering not one year but many of them and 2018 is *one* season. Feeling responsible for creating beauty is a heavy load, if one feels dry at the same time. I do not know, what the expectations of your surroundings are, but could you do everything in a very small, and unassuming and personal way? No “extras”?I remember your post in which you described the different “colours” of love for your children (I let my husband read it also and we had both tears in our eyes) – could that be a starting point to find a way for quiet “celebrations”? because this is what you have – your love for them – and it is no small thing and something to remember also.
This is good advice 🙂 I think I set my own expectations for myself too high, and then feel horrible when I can’t meet them. Or maybe, because I tend to feel inadequate about life in general, I try to do too many “big” things in an attempt to make up for how I perceive myself to be failing in the everyday things. I suppose like you said it needs to come back to simply being present in all the small moments and let nearness and love carry us through each season. So thank you for your very helpful perspective here 🙂
…from one to high expectation setter to another… lest you think, I am all wise and serene 😉