We live our lives in seasons, moving gently from one to the next, so quiet it’s hardly worth a notice most days. And then something happens that catapults you into awareness—a job change, the death of a parent, your child going to college—and the change feels intense and immediate and shocking. It makes me think of that stunt that’s been the rage of late, the one where you get a bucket of ice water poured over your head. It’s the kind of thing that sure grabs your attention.
How lucky we are that most of our days don’t include buckets of ice water. Instead, God most often hands life out to us slowly, a little bit at a time.
I sit here writing this on my back porch in August as the sun is setting and the world is cooling down. The cardinals have been by for dinner and most have gone on, except for the lone bird I hear chirping in the Crape Myrtle. It is quiet and peaceful and still, and I am grateful.
Still, for many of my friends, these are ice bucket days. Kindergarten for Brooke, first grade for the Barr twins, first day of high school for Julian and Macy, first day without her baby boy for my dear friend Lisa, who delivered 6’2″ Ayden to college this weekend. I know exactly how each of them feels; I have been there before. Oh, have I been there before.
But now I am in a different season, one in which the moments, by and large, have become my own. I fill them with things that bring my soul joy: I write (a lot). I read. I make things. I binge-watch television (Homeland). And if we’re being honest, I’ve seen way more episodes of Chopped than I care to mention.
I go to work, and I come home, and there is no carpool to coordinate, no paperwork to fill out, no cheerleading uniform to wash, no wrapping paper to sell, no homework to oversee.There’s just my own big life, ready to be filled.
I think about God and what a grand plan it is to keep us all moving, season to season. Summer ends, yes, and we mourn. But then comes Fall, that glorious time of football and pumpkins and spiced tea and a chill in the air. And Winter, with wood fires and big pots of soup and the air alive with fresh cedar. And Spring. Oh Spring, all new buds and sunshine and garden shoots and possibility, endless and colorful.
How lovely it is to live in a world in which there is always something to look forward to.
My phone pings and it’s a message from my sweet Eliza, all moved in to a house and ready for her Senior year in college.
Guess what I’m making for dinner? she asks, a question that makes me smile. She’s on a quest to find things to cook that are healthy and easy, and she called me for a suggestion from the grocery store earlier today. Roasted onions, squash, zucchini and mushrooms she says.
My heart rejoices.
Yes, we move season to season to season according to a grand plan that makes it all work, a plan designed to keep us moving forward. It’s not always easy. (Water bucket moments.) But we adjust. We adapt. And we reinvent.
And then a miracle happens and we find so much to be grateful for in new blessings that come our way.
They always do, don’t they? Isn’t that the promise?
They always do.