Fall is my happy season. I’m not a big fan of pumpkin spice, or the million products they make with a pumpkin-spice flavor, but I love when the weather turns cooler and the season begins to change. Bring on the warm sweatshirts, beautiful fall leaves, and smell of campfire. I get giddy just thinking about all the fall things ahead, including time in nature.
Every year, the boys and I like to go to a pumpkin farm not far from our house. It has all the things that fill our fall bucket — apple cider, hayrides, kids’ activities, and, of course, the corn maze. The corn maze is always a big draw and they change the design each year to keep it exciting. When you arrive, they hand you a small corn-maze map with only a star by where you start. The rest is up to you. Let the adventure begin!
You would think after years of doing a corn maze that we would have a family strategy. Nope. We go in with no plan and, most of the time, end up separating about 15 minutes in.
Our oldest son charges ahead paving his own path, and I desperately cling to our youngest son because I’m still a little terrified. I like to blame the movie Children of the Corn, but really I’m just a wimp when I think something could jump out and scare me. Then, if my husband joins us, he’s constantly talking the whole time about the signs on the path that indicate we are headed in the right direction.
We eventually get out. I would love to share it’s always a positive bonding experience, but we often come out a little irritated with each other. My kids are huffy with me because, when I startle, I have a tendency to scream and jump on backs with no notice.
I’m silently stewing because my hubby won’t quit talking about how right he is about the last 10 turns we took even though I’m positive we’re making a big circle. One son is tired of waiting on us and the other just wants to finish with the fastest time across the finish line … even if that means leaving your family behind to lighten your load. It’s a mess, but this is us.
I’ve been thinking about how our behaviors in the corn maze often reflect how we tackle life. For some of us, we are all about winning and can put relationships on the back burner to our achievements. For others, we are confident we are navigating the right path (and not afraid to make sure everyone knows it!) and we’re unprepared if we’re wrong in our theories or our assumptions. For a few, we are so fearful of what might pop up, including taking some people down with us in our terror, that we forget to even enjoy the experience.
What if God uses a corn maze each fall to remind us how much we need each other?
What if God uses the vibrant colors of the fall leaves to show us how to pay attention?
What if God uses the brisk air to teach us that seasons change and so do we?
There are so many hard things in a season, but there’s also so much joy. May this fall season remind us of all the love and beauty of God’s creation. May it also be a time for our eyes and hearts to be open to the possibilities.
I’ll see you at the corn maze with my snuggly sweater and apple cider in hand, dear friends. I apologize in advance for all the screaming.
Heather Feeler has her favorite fall sweater, coat, and stocking cap ready to go when the weather turns crisp. She still refuses to participate in the pumpkin-spice craziness.