It seems as if EVERYONE loves Autumn. Oh the beautiful colors of the leaves! Oh the crisp, clean air! Oh the pumpkin pies and apple cider! Oh the magic of it all!

But I’m not a fan of Autumn or as I prefer to call it “the beginning of the end”. Goodbye warm sunny days. Goodbye green grass and hummingbirds. Goodbye swimming pools, patio dining, lush gardens and summer nights. Goodbye baseball, flip-flops, lazy days and Corona®  (it’s just not the same when it’s not Summer).

To me Autumn represents that slow, painful march into the dark days of Winter. Cold. Bleak. Sad. Winter. You can call me a curmudgeon but Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes® and hay-rides aren’t really my thing. I’m a Summer-lover. And I’m sad that it’s over. And I’m even sadder that Winter is on its way. Oh you can be fooled for a while into thinking that these easy Fall days with sunshine and moderate temperatures will last but you’d be wrong. Just lurking around the corner is the dreaded freezing cold of Winter. The Ice. The Snow. The Darkness.

Be warned: Soon Autumn will only be a memory and you will be trudging through the dreary desolation of Winter.

Perhaps my displeasure of Autumn (and what it brings) is the reality that I am in the Autumn of my life. After all, the Springtime of my youth is a long-ago memory. I’m 60 now and squarely living in my Autumn and that’s assuming I will be around to see my Winter. Maybe that’s what scares me or makes me uncomfortable – getting older. Realizing that time waits for no one. And my Winter? Well that’s more than I care to think about right now. Is old age the impending doom? Are the twilight years an endless reminder that soon it will all be over? Surely not. My Dad will be 90 in the Spring and he’s still going strong.

Ah, the Spring! That’s it! Springtime – life renews again! Dad will be 90 next Spring! And so life goes on.

Yes I suppose Autumn is a beautiful season and I will try to embrace it. Even if it reminds me that the end is near. And even if it represents the dying and passing away of my Summer. But that needn’t be a bad thing. I should just bundle up and stay warm. Maybe I’ll even enjoy a pumpkin latte. Because when this life ends (and it will, no matter how hard I fight it) I know that there will be a rebirth in heaven.

And my Summer will come again…



My Version of Heaven

Lately I’ve been pondering heaven. Maybe because according to AARP I am now a senior citizen and should be obsessed with all end of life matters. But it’s more likely because I have grandchildren who talk about heaven and how wonderful it will be someday.

heavenWill it be wonderful? Will it be awesome? Will it be at all? Truth is, none of us knows for sure. Throughout history much has been written about heaven. Theologians have contemplated and expounded on paradise and eternal life in God’s presence for eons but the images of heaven most of us carry in our minds are those of a child. After all, pearly gates and streets of gold and billowy white robes are the stuff of nursery rhymes and fairy tales.

Let me be clear: I believe in a Creator. I believe in a Redeemer. I believe in a Sanctifier. I believe that the Creator made me from love; that the Redeemer saved me through love; that I am sanctified by the love the Creator and Redeemer have for one another.

That’s theologically heady stuff that as an adult I can embrace. But where is heaven and what is heaven? I’m afraid I am stuck with childish beliefs that don’t work for the grown up (old) me. My image of heaven has not been much different from that of my grandchildren. But I’m challenging myself to look at heaven in a new way.

So here’s my theory: (Assumptions being made for the existence of heaven and my ability to share in the experience). I believe that heaven is the ultimate manifestation of God’s love for us. I believe that in heaven when I am reunited with my loved ones it will be when the love we shared was the most sublime. I believe that I will encounter everyone in the state of being I most loved and they will likewise encounter me.

I will feel the comfort of snuggling in my mother’s arms as a small child. I will fun free in the woods with my best friend. I will once again experience the overwhelming beauty of seeing my bride walk down the aisle with the sun gleaming through the church windows. I will hold my newborn children in my arms and be overwhelmed by their awesome beauty and complete helplessness. I will laugh with my sons at scout camp and hug them tightly at basic training and the first day at University. I tell my daughter bedtime stories and kiss her soft cheek on her wedding day. I will play with my grandchildren at the beach and in the backyard and receive the sweet kisses that can melt even the hardest of hearts.

And how will others encounter me? I hope it will be at the happiest times. At times when peace and love was spoken without words.

So heaven may have streets of gold and angels and harps and clouds and unbelievable beauty and majesty but I’d rather be holding hands with my wife while walking down some quiet lane together reminiscing about the life we’ve shared. And I hope that in heaven she will encounter the man who is worthy of her love.

Now that would be eternal bliss…