Well, it’s fall again.  Really?  Can that be true?  I wonder as I sit sweltering with a fan blowing in my living room.  The old heat pump ain’t what it used to be – and I am feeling it.

Still, the calendar doesn’t lie.  It is the autumnal equinox – fall has begun.  That means soon the small congregation I serve will be cooking Brunswick stew at their annual fall festival; working on sweaters and scarves at the newly formed “Yak and Yarn” group; practicing their favorite Christmas carols and all the other things they do to mark the seasonal change.

Which leads me to wax, eloquently or not, about life’s seasons.

A few weeks ago I turned another year older and had an interesting phone conversation with my older brother about  “old geezers” and how to age as gracefully as possible.  We talked about how the seasons of our lives come and go and hopefully we grow at least a little wiser as they do.  We talked about staying in shape – or not.  We talked about growing health concerns and how to keep them at bay – or not.  I couldn’t help but think about how we continue to try and grow spiritually through it all – or not.

In other words, it’s about choice and discipline.  It’s about recognizing that life – every day of it – is a gift from God, for however long it lasts.  We mark our days with all their attendant ups and downs and hopefully, enjoy the journey along the way.

I can’t believe it is fall already.  I can’t quite believe I am another year older already.

I can believe, however, that this journey is worth the taking – with loved ones, with others I meet along the way, and with God.

Seasons come and go – and time passes – this is a certainty whether we like it or not.

So, embrace it.  Try to learn something new every day.  Take time to talk with, and listen to, those around you.  Pray.  Have some fun.  Help where and when you can.  Most of all, meet each day, each turn of the calendar’s page, with hope.

Wonderful, expectant hope.

It will not only help the days pass easier.  It will make it all worthwhile.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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