Inspirational thoughts and random writings from the alumni and friends of Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Autumn's Abundance

By Jeannette Doran

 While every season has its own unique beauty, this time of year
 overwhelms one with splendor. Surrounded by fall's harvest of rich
 color, the taste of pumpkin pie and fresh apples, the gentle warmth of
 wind rustling the orange and red leaves, our lives are enriched with
 the fruit of the seed.

 In beholding the beauty of the tiny seed brought to fruition, we are invited to look at its journey.
Perhaps as tulip and daffodil bulbs are fall-planted in the rich soil, soon to bear the depth of winter's cold, or, as the spring seeds are folded into the earth after the last spring frost awaiting their growth, we develop a longing for God. There is a period of darkness amidst cold dampness before the
 tiny green sprout emerges one morning. This is like our own lives.

 Living in Iowa close to corn fields, this reality is clarified.
 Since this year's floods delayed the spring planting for many farmers,
 once the furrowed fields were neatly sown in long rows, we watched and
 waited for the first sign of green. This did come about after more
 periods of threatening rain storms, hot, humid days and warm sunlight.
 While the corn this year was not as "high as the sky on the fourth of
 July," still a few weeks later we watched vast fields sway in the wind
 like waves of the ocean. Now the tall stalks have turned rusty beige,
 a drying out time before the harvest begins. Some years the farmer
 works day and night to beat the coming frost.

 Our garden has nurtured us these last two months with juicy
 tomatoes, green beans, butternut squash and a wealth of broccoli that
 came from a packet of little seeds. This year, a profusion of colorful
 flowers graced our land; it seemed every corner one turned, we
 delighted in a petite blue cornflower or a bright red rose. Such is
 the beauty of creation. We need only to open our eyes to behold God's
 gifts everyday.

 As we remember the seed's journey, we are reminded of our soul's
 path to deeper delights. We believe in the indwelling of the Blessed
 Trinity. Through God's gifts of gentle awareness of this holy presence
 we desire more. We experience long periods of darkness and emptiness.
 Gradually, we find deep in our being a tiny light and warmth that
 begins to emerge after much waiting. As the psalmist teaches, the Lord
 delights in our waiting in love. Our hunger for God grows in the
 dark, and we come to understand that, after long spaces of solitude
 with quiet prayer, we will come to delight in God's holy presence and
 will learn to carry this with us into our daily lives. As the earthly
 seed comes to fruition in the soil's depth, so our spiritual growth is
 nurtured in the night. St. John of the Cross writes to us of our
 spiritual fruition, with this attentive waiting, in this stanza of his poem, The Dark Night:
"O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
The Lover with His beloved,
Transforming the beloved in her Lover."

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