Don't cry because it's over,
smile because it happened.
I have a pit in my stomach. Not a small pit, mind you. A big pit.
A pit like you get just after you've eaten ten huge pickles in a row and wondered, "What in the world was I thinking." A pit like your dear, dear friend Sarah is moving and you have no idea when you will see her again.
A pit like every time you drive down the street to your home and you see the same gorgeous, stately maple tree and you can see the tinges of yellow and orange and dark red start to creep up into its leaves, soon to leave the fresh green colors behind. And then in a wink, the leaves, one-by-one, and then in droves, will start to drop to the ground.
That tree, especially that tree, is a reminder of what is leaving and what is coming. Summer still has its kinda, sorta grip on Spokane, yet you can feel it in the air. Smell it in the earth. See it in the faces of the anxious children as they put their school backpacks together.
Summer is almost over. We are on the cusp of fall.
Here we go again. Again with busy schedules that stretch us and change us. Here we go again with activities so full that they won't fit into the small square given on my daily calendar. Here we go again with an accelerated life that keeps us all hopping until our feet are sore. It's life, I know that. This isn't my first rodeo. But as I look at the yellow and red sneaking up that beautiful maple tree, I find my heart grieving a bit and reflecting back on summer.
What I love most about my favorite season is time, real time, real quality time, with those I love. There is time to talk and read and dream. There is time to run through the sprinkler until you are soaking wet.
There is time...to just be.
Initially, every June, I am very antsy when summertime descends. I am a person who nine months during the year goes at full tilt. Rack 'em and stack 'em. Be productive. Do more. Worry more. Cram in more. More, more, more seems to be the unspoken theme.
Yet when summer descends, in all her softness and gentleness and there is an invitation to pause, reflect and breath, I become so giddy and grateful I can't stand it.
Oh... I say to myself. THIS is how we are supposed to be living all year long. Ahhhhh...THIS actually feels like living instead of running to and fro. THIS allows time to be with people, really be with people in a way that nourishes our souls.
I am so blessed, as a college teacher, to not teach during the summer. While I do a bit of consulting, here and there, my calendar glares at me with days left open. And then the glaring stops and the sighing begins. the smiling begins. the fun begins.
I have some blessed, glorious, are you kidding me this is so cool... free time!!!!
Free time. I love saying it. I love how the words jump off my tongue in glee.
I love how the words feel in my heart when I say them. What a heavenly gift. Free time.
Time to catch up
Time to breathe
Time to pray
Time to see, really see, God's handiwork...right in front of me.
Case in point. Just last weekend Bert and I took several of our grandchildren and their best friends to a local hotel for an overnight. Not any hotel, mind you. One with a HUGE pool and a cool slide and waterfall. One right next to a park where there was to be a native American Pow Wow. Right next to a park with the biggest water feature ever. And so we went and we played and I went down the water slide screaming and laughing. And I went under the roaring waterfall with Jenna. And when it came time to the Pow Wow...my feet moved and my voice chanted. And then I found myself deliriously happy in the middle of the biggest water feature ever, surrounded by gleeful grandchildren as we sang...
I'm singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feeling
I'm happy again.
Gene Kelly had nothing on us.
*****(side note for you young 'uns- Gene Kelly starred in a famous old musical called Singing in the Rain) Listen to this. You'll love it!
And then on my way home, full of a contentment and joy that made me feel fully alive, I saw that tree again. That "fall is approaching again tree". That reminder tree.
But this time, I chose to smile. Reflecting back on this summer, I decide not to cry because it's over. Instead, I'm going to smile gloriously because it happened!
"We are all just walking each other home." ...