A Season for Dying (A Season for Gratitude)

Aug 27, 2012


Just the other night, I sat on the front porch and wished I had a sweater. The calendar may still say August, but, around here, summer is definitely tipping over into fall. Our weekly delivery from the local CSA orchard is shifting more and more from peaches to apples.

My daughter says, “I smell fall!” I tell her, “I can hear it,” curled, yellow leaves crunching under my feet.

During our two years in Florida, I missed autumn most of all. We still had summer (beautiful but long). There was spring, just more gradual and gentle than any northern spring. Our first year there we even had a winter, of sorts.  But there is no autumn in Florida.

Each season has something important to say. Right now, the world is still very green, but, when the wind blows and the air suddenly fills with yellow leaves, this truth is revealed: there is no escaping death.

This is a season for dying.

It’s also my favorite season.

Maybe that’s because it tells me that death is a lie. We may imagine death as the end, but in fall we know that this dying is leading us toward a blaze of glory. In dying, we are walking toward beauty.

Our new home is beautiful. In the evenings we go for drives through a vibrant green, rumpled-quilt sort of landscape. There are creeks, tunnels formed by trees, old stone, Quaker farmhouses at every crossroads, and road signs that say, “Caution! Horses and hounds.”

We drive for the beauty, but, in honesty, we also drive to put our 3-year-old to sleep. Put him in a bed and he’ll stay awake for hours. Put him in a carseat, no matter the time of day, and he’s snoring within minutes.

A sleep-deprived preschooler isn’t my only frustration. There are also allergies. And asthma, that same nemesis that kept me bed-bound all last winter in Florida.

Nearly every breath I’ve taken in this new place has hurt. The baby doesn’t wake me up at night, but the coughing does. And I wonder, why this serpent in my Eden?

But, if death is a liar, so is trouble of every kind. Sickness, disappointment, difficulty: they all say God is not so good.

Here is something wonderful about having walked through deserts and having enjoyed the good, green places: Paul’s words in Philippians 4 finally make some sort of sense.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

He is the secret. Our God of peace.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter if this jar of clay has failing lungs. It is Christ who lives in me. Lives!

And nothing touches me without passing through his hands.

So I can live unafraid. I can live grateful.



  1. valarie

    You’ve been gone too long. Thanks for my Christie fix!:-) Godspeed.

    • Christie Purifoy

      Thanks, Valarie! It’s good to be back at the writing desk.

  2. Aimee

    So glad I can picture the tunnels of trees and rumpled landscape after living them for a few days. Also so grateful that God is always good and loving towards us, even in the midst of this broken world.

  3. Danielle Diehl

    I love Fall too, the most of all. I hated winter when I was younger. Now I love it. Because there is rest in death, finally rest. And it prepares the world for spring. A proper midwest spring. I used to hate that it got dark so early, now I love it, I look forward to it.

    • Christie Purifoy

      Exactly, Danielle. That’s what I learned in Florida – winter means rest to me. I need that season of staying in and slowing down. Even in the garden – it drove me crazy in Florida that I never got a break from weeding. Weeds could grow all winter long. No thank you, I’ll take a good freeze.

  4. Samantha Livingston

    So, so look forward to walking through this Pennsylvania fall with you as I remain fall-less here in FL!


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