I didn't want to embrace autumn this year; didn't want let go of summertime. June and July were perfectly lovely. Just about the loveliest summer I can remember. We didn't go anywhere special. I actually missed my one chance to go to the beach. We mostly stayed home, taking just a couple of trips to Charlottesville, which is "home," too. We made memories here-- happy, happy memories. Good, good days.
August was not good. It began with an infection that left me sicker than I remember being in the last two decades. And then, it just bumped along some more--one in-real-life hit after another, each one surprising me more than the next. I sort of staggered through September, trying with all my might to recover my midsummer joy.
With all my might.
September ended with a heaving sob. My might depleted. Joy eluded.
October dawned cold, blustery, brittle. We celebrate the feast of my favorite saint on October first. An old friend challenged me to look for roses. Roses in the October cold. "Please pick for me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me as a message of love."
The roses of midsummer have faded and fallen. I cannot gather their blooms and bring them into the heart of this home. Instead, I have to find the October roses. With the waning summer, I feel my idealism fading; I feel some longheld notions finally acknowledging defeat after years of fighting with all my might; I fully feel the reality of messy lives. And I see that I cannot , no matter how hard I try, create the perfect childhood and hold it safely for all my children. They will be hurt. They will hurt themselves. We will feel pain and there will be fading blooms and browning leaves.
It's time to embrace autumn. It's time to acknowledge that there is suffering, to let myself know it, meet its gaze, and accept it. Time to stop fighting change, stop denying that this, too, is a fallen world in need of a a Savior. Time to stop trying to play on through the pain. It's time to remember that pruning is painful, but ever so fruitful. It's time to recognize that perhaps my most important role as a teacher of my children is to teach them how to greet the hurt and then to carry on in faith.
The breeze blows and lifts my chin; it's time to look up from the rain-sodden, trampled underbrush of late summer's waning blooms and to see His glory above me. It's time to know that it's not about my might.
It never was.
I see that now.
The joy of the summer was never of my making; it was the fruit of His grace. He waits for me, watching patiently, asking me to trust Him with this new season of life.
"God is good," the Spirit whispers through the gathering storm, the rustling, autumn-gloried leaves, "all the time."