Autumn seemed to arrive
suddenly that year. The morning
of the first September was crisp
and golden as an apple.
- J.K. Rowling
For weeks and weeks we have had ninety degree days of smoke-filled skies. And then it rained. Not a lot of rain mind you, but just enough to bring the silhouettes of the pine trees back into a clear view.
And in that moment, we all took a deep breath, even a sigh.
The air cleared and with it the hot days vanished as if a dream and seventy degree days that were autumn brisk descended.
Bert was in his cozy reading chair and I was in mine and I looked out one of the huge windows that overlooks our back yard, trees filled with luscious leaves.
And I said in an incredulous whisper, almost afraid that saying it out loud would make it so...
"Honey, look. Look at the leaves. There are
tinges of orange and red and yellow in them."
And just like that, in a blink, it felt like summer was over.
I've always been convinced that summer had unthinkable expectations placed on its shoulders.
"Ah," we say. "This summer I'm going to..."and we make a list of all the fun and frolic we can muster.
"Let's..." and the dreams erupt and a bucket list begins to form in our hearts.
Yet this summer, in Spokane, has ended on a note of terror and sadness and nervousness. Those thirty plus wildfires have had us all on edge. The earth is scorched and over 390,000 acres have been burned and 150 homes lost. Three precious fire fighters lost their lives trying to keep us all safe. And it's not over yet.
Not the summer of our dreams.
We were all so ready for some stability, some 'this feels like how it is supposed to be in life' moments.
Thankfully, the start of school was on the horizon. And that event brings with it a feeling of normalcy. This year, however, there may be a teacher's strike after just one week of school.
Ah...the life lessons abound.
We are learning to practice flexibility and adaptation to events we wish weren't happening.
We are learning to find gratitude in the midst of sorrow.
We are learning that we are not in charge of anything except our attitude.
We are reminded, once again, that we get to choose.
We can choose to complain or we can choose joy.
And choosing joy in the midst of sorrow takes courage.
We can choose to remember that God is here in the midst of the hardest moments. When the fires in our lives rage and seem to scorch our dreams, He never leaves us.
His love is a constant in a changing world and every changing season.
Through everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING...
He holds us in the palm of His almighty hand.
So today, I am choosing JOY! Teaching college hasn't started for me yet so I am relishing a few days of "nesting" at home.
I am choosing to take a few more moments in prayer time as I sip my first cup of coffee.
I am choosing to slow the pace of life down so I can
let gratitude seep into every corner of my heart.
I am choosing to text my loved ones at the start of their day to remind them that they are deeply loved.
God loves them and so do we.
I am choosing to put on my sweater and scarf as I take my walk and smile as I see the trees starting to turn. As I see the edges of leaves with a hint of yellow and red and burnt orange.
I want to remember to smile and say a prayer of "thanks!" Thanks for it all. The hard and the easy.
The heart-breaking and the glorious.
Summer is gone and autumn is just around the corner.
Perhaps William Cullen Bryant was right on when he described fall in this way...
"Autumn...the year's last loveliest smile."
And we anticipate its smile and arrival with
confidence and JOY!
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