We are well into the second week of September, and since June 21st, we have already lost two hours of daylight. I really notice that difference when I get up in the morning. On the calendar it is still officially summer, but the outside temperature and landscape tells a different story. Splashes of color are showing up, and that says Fall is here. It is 48 degrees outside, there is a northeast breeze pushing the mist around, and in the cool morning air I can hear geese honking overhead. Like it or not, Fall has arrived.
I know there are a few warm days yet to come, but autumn has clearly made its grand entrance into the Adirondacks. This is a certainty because it’s 32 degrees, and there is frost on the pumpkins in my hometown of Bloomingdale, NY. Not far from there, it’s a frigid 27 degrees on Mount Marcy. So, to the residents of our small town, a foggy 48 degree morning is an echo of the stark reality that summer is over and Fall has come once again.
In truth, 48 degrees really does not seem all that bad, but it is a turning point. It marks the moment when those who live here must consider what is about to return. What I mean is, we get our first frost in Johnstown about the 10th of October, and that ends the growing season. However, just north of us, in the heart of the Adirondacks, frost arrives around Labor Day. A few weeks later, in early November, we will see snow flurries in the air. December brings blankets of snow, and then January arrives with it’s manic-depressive weather on steroids. It brings a mid-winter thaw, where daytime temps go into the 50’s, and this is followed by arctic blasts that plunge things down to -25 or -35.
So, 48 degrees says something important, if you can hear it. It says the fevered heat of Summer, the warm sandy beaches, camping and back yard gatherings have passed. It says school is back in session, vacations are over, and gardens are just about done. It is the final appearance of Indian corn, pumpkins and squash on roadside stands. It means fields are being cleared, leaves raked and wood piles are growing bigger in the shrinking daylight hours. It says the apple harvest is in full swing, and the last fall flowers are in full bloom.
It’s the time for slowing down, sitting by an evening fire out back, while sipping a hot cup of coffee with friends. This is the season for patiently roasting a hotdog, thick cut bacon, or a piece of sharp cheddar cheese, on a stick over the fire. It means heavy dew on the grass, no more mowing, and it is time to check the snow blower and look for the winter tires. 48 degrees is not just a number on a thermometer. No, it marks a way of life that brings us back to the basics and back to our roots. This is when we ponder where we have been, and more importantly, where we are about to go. It’s a line drawn in the sand of life, and once it is reached, you know there is no going back.
Have you reached your 48 degrees yet? Let me make sure you understand what I just said. This is the time in life when you hit a wall, and must begin to re-evaluate yourself, and everything you are doing, at a gut level. Things are just different somehow, and you may or may not, understand why. You know subtle differences are in the air, and you can feel it deep inside. The thing is, you really are not sure what to do next, and that brings unsettledness to all you do. You can sense a shift in the season of life, but don’t know what new direction that shift is pointing you in. If you are living with the above, then you have hit your 48 degree point. The geese are overhead, and certain change is in the wind, like it or not.
So what do you do now? How do you get any traction in this season of uncertainty? Due of my prophetic call, I have been in this place numerous times over the years. From those experiences, I have learned a few things along the way. Allow me share one nugget that has served me quite well. Perhaps it may help you in your season of transition. My advice? First of all, go build a fire, sit in its light and warmth, and invite a few choice friends to join you for a hot cup of coffee. You might be saying to yourself right now, “What? What kind of wisdom is that?” Well, there is more truth in those words than you might expect, so just keep reading.
What I am saying is more profound than you might think, so let’s break it down. First of all, you need to gather the wood for a fire. That is, you have to get focused, slow down and try to calm your anxious thoughts. Anxiety never solved anything for anyone. Take the time to settle your thinking so you can build the fire of passion you once had for life. Discover a fresh passion for what you love to do. Uncover the hidden talents and skills you have acquired in life. Don’t go rushing off into the dark night in a panic. Gather your thoughts and build the fire of your passion once again. This will bring the light of fresh vision, and the warmth of new possibilities to you that your soul really needs.
Second, invite a few “choice friends” to sit with you as you build your fire. You do not want to bring those who usually hang with you on this journey. Those friends who are currently in your circle, probably helped bring you where you are right now. If they lack vision and direction, most likely so do you. That’s just the way it is. You need friends around you who have a vision, passion, clarity and a desire to succeed. Sit with those who speak life, and those who have a positive attitude. You need friends who will challenge you to stop whining, encourage you to fan the flame of your passion, and help you step outside your comfort zone.
Finally, you need those who are willing to drink the coffee you serve up. That is, these must be people who nourish themselves the same way you do. For a Christian, that means they must love and rely on Jesus the same way you do. They need to be connected to a good local church, submitted to good leadership, and looking for life’s answers in Scripture. People, who seek out what the world offers, will always end up with second best. Those who seek God are always going to take you in the right direction. Most importantly, these friends need to be people of integrity who will pray for you, and with you. Others, who are highly qualified, may be willing to share your fire, but if they don’t drink what you drink, it’s going to be a problem. The spiritual unity of all those on the journey, is the key that correctly aligns and unlocks your future.
If you sense a change in the wind, and are feeling a bit disoriented in life now, perhaps it’s time to go build a fire. Put on the coffee pot and invite a few choice friends to sit with you and stoke the fire of your passion. Enjoy the personal conversation, savor a cup of hot coffee and roast some sharp cheddar. In this rich atmosphere of insight, guidance and care, light will begin to penetrate the darkness, and fresh direction will come.
Remember, this season will not last forever, but it will bring change, so you might a well embrace it and get the benefit. When it’s over, things are going to be different. For now, why not go take a look at the thermometer of your life. If it reads a cool 48 degrees then change is on the way and it’s time to go light the fire!