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I can hardly believe it’s already September and that another summer is nearly behind us. But just last week, I popped out onto my back patio for some morning time with God, and it was chilly enough that I had to head back inside for my fuzzy robe to keep warm! 

Fall is approaching with the steadying predictability that I’ve come to appreciate more and more with each passing year. And this shift in weather signals a perfect opportunity for some introspection.

We can notice the changing of the seasons and how that relates to our lives, relationships, and routines. And we can reflect on the summer that is soon behind us, taking note of what was wonderful about it and letting go of the things we hoped for that might not have come to pass. 

The goodbye to this summer, in particular, is a bittersweet one for me, as it might be for a lot of us. Perhaps you’re feeling some appreciation for how this summer was different from the last two summers when the pandemic was still raging and life felt upside-down. For me, this summer almost felt normal. And I’m so grateful for that.

At the close of this season, it can be helpful to focus on gratitude for what we have been able to experience over the summer. It’s also a great time to refocus on our relationships. Like anything else, it can be tempting to mourn the things that didn’t happen, the connections we didn’t make, the plans that we had to set aside. 

But it’s important to understand that the woulda-coulda-shouldas aren’t productive. They deplete our relationships, our own personal growth, and our souls. 

By contrast, being grateful and having appreciation helps us to turn around the negative sentiment override that we can sometimes experience — in our life in general or in our relationships. 

In my own life, I can think about how much time I wasn’t able to spend in the wilderness this summer (I love to go on hikes and have fond childhood memories of camping with family). Because of physical limitations for me and schedule constraints for Eric, that time in nature didn’t happen for me much this year. I could mourn that, or I could look at all the goodness that came out of the season and focus my attention on that. 

I can rejoice in the fact that we welcomed two new beings into our family this summer (hooray for babies!), and I got to be part of that. I’d do that a hundred times over — even if it meant missing out on a few hikes. I can recognize that there’s a time and a season for everything. I can be grateful for what is and was — and let go of the things that didn’t get to happen.

Doing the same in your own life can be incredibly freeing, and the first days of fall are a perfect time to get started.