(previously posted 10/2014)
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” Ann of Green Gables
October is here! One of my favorite months of the year. I also love the month when spring appears, anywhere from late April to mid June. This year I missed spring, the accident kept me drugged, sigh… I missed the lilacs and the crabapple trees in bloom, 2 of my all time favorite events every year. One smells heavenly the other looks like cotton candy dotted over sprawling, craggy branches. I’m thankful that I can enjoy October, it brings a colorful beauty that nothing else in nature duplicates. Red, yellow, gold, orange, brown…all my favorite colors. We have a couple of maple trees in our backyard and they turn a beautiful deep, rich red each year, they also make a mess but it’s worth it. Our linden tree in front becomes bright yellow while the neighbor’s oaks turn an orange that reminds me of an expensive leather purse. The weather becomes unpredictible, sometimes wet, chilly in the mornings and evenings, often windy unless, like today, its 68 and sunny–just perfect.
October also ushers in pumpkin season. I have one daughter who thinks pumpkins are strictly for carving, lighting and putting on the porch, the other would chew pumpkin spice gum if they made it. I just recieved my Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer this week, which I read cover to cover. I counted 47 items with pumpkin in the title! I’ve been reading their Flyers since 1989 and I can’t ever remember a time when there were that many pumpkin offerings. Remember when pumpkin pancakes became popular? Now you can buy a mix that’s gluten free. Pumpkin cakes, breads and cookies have been around forever so they don’t count anymore. Here’s one for you, pumpkin croutons. I’m not sure what to do with them but I’m game, I’ll try them. With the invention of the pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin flavoring has been added to any number of beverages, brews and ales so I shouldn’t have been surprised to see pumpkin spice chai latte mix in the Flyer, I’ll try that too. Here’s another that piqued my interest, pumpkin chocolate salted carmels. I’m enough of a chocolate purist that I think I’ll pass on that one. I always stock up on Joe’s organic, pureed pumpkin for the pantry, then I can enjoy pumpkin goodness all year long.
Fall inspires the poets and writers, all of whom have done more justice to the season than I ever could. When the girls were little we read fall poems, many that tickled our funny bones (think turkey limericks) or made us sigh with a sense of utter satisfaction. One of my favorites was “Autumn” by Emily Dickenson.
The morns are meeker than they were, the nuts are getting brown; the berry’s cheek is plumper, the rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf, the field a scarlet gown. Lest I should be old-fashioned, I’ll put a trinket on.
It’s true too! We add trinkets in fall to our wardrobes. Hats and gloves, socks and boots, scarves and sweaters. Emily had to have that in mind when she penned her poem.
I’m not one who’s admiration of creation leads me to a place of worship for the creator. Not to say I don’t appreciate his creation, or know that he is the designer behind it. I’m just not one of those people who see a tree, mountain or beach and feel like “Wow, God is so great, I love him so much for making…” However, I love being outside relishing the sounds, sights and smells. For me it’s like being welcomed into a wonderfully comfortable home. I might notice the decorations, enjoy the comfy furniture and soak up the atmosphere all the while eagerly anticipating what we’re drinking from the bar and eating for dinner. Where will the conversation lead, how much will we laugh (often directly associated with the beverage menu) and how are we all managing life? Connecting to people is more my style of worshipping, I am utterly relational. I knew a guy who loved to hug trees (really) simply because they were made by God and they spoke to him of God’s love. Not me.
Since living in the mid-west seasons have become a way of life. “And it came to pass” is applicable to any season that stays too long or behaves too rowdily. Earlier this year the Snowpocalypse earned that distinction. When the last snow fell on May 16th we sighed a collective sigh of relief that finally, winter had come to pass. Summer came and passed in the blink of an eye this year, fall sort of snuck up on us. While summers can also drag along till you wish they’d die, winter tends to be the dreaded season around here. Whatever the case, you always know every season will eventually pass. At one time we lived in the land of eternal summer, Phoenix. March to November you could plan on weather that would, at times, curl your toes and fry your brain but eventually even that passed.
We’re experiencing the passing of a season in our life right now. Healing continues from our car accident in May in fact, Bruce has been released from his doctor’s care (woo hoo!). I’m still seeing a chiropractor but am making progress and moving easier. We’re finding projects to help stretch our physical limitations so they don’t keep us impaired long term. Painting and repurposing a bedroom, cleaning out the basement after 8yrs of accumulation. Hauling away used “stuff” for Goodwill and garage sales. The bright side is I have a clean basement and a place to sew. Our kids are making life changing decisions about where to live and what to do. Some of it will be hard for us as the marrieds will move across country, back to California for a season. We’ll miss those hipsters as they go west for adventure and change but it’s an opportunity for them. Its possible our younger daughter will move east next spring, grad school calls but time will tell. Whatever the case, a season of life is passing for us and we are doing our best to patiently walk it out.
I’m encouraged to think of the Christian life that way, seasons of travel with both beauty and desolation. Bumps and potholes are a normal part of the journey and like the seasons they always pass. Smooth road comes for awhile and then the next batch of bumps and potholes. We become better navigators. Our vehicle, or our walking shoes, become more efficient and useful with each stretch of bumpy road. God is even kind enough to redeem the mistakes we make and to add bits of eternity to our character as we struggle over and out of those bumps and holes. And when bad things happen to us, because of nothing we’ve done, he is there. He waits for us to stop blaming ourselves or others and to see that we are simply the middle man in the age old conflict between himself and his enemy. It’s not a cosmic tennis match with mankind as the ball slugging it out across a gilded net. Rather we are privileged to be image bearers of his likeness to the loosing side. It’s not something we can control, hurry, rationalize, medicate, or soothe. The process will happen with or without our willing participation (willing is definitely more desireable). All the while we are learning things about the character of God that can’t be learned via any other method. In the end he will have his way and his plans will be accomplished.
Whatever your particular season, just keep reminding yourself that like October, it too will pass.