Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Tea

To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-3

If all the summer days were like yesterday, it would have been a glorious summer!  Instead, I once again noticed (as I was walking the gravel lane to the county road for my morning paper) that the forest is as thick as I've ever seen it before.  The wet spring and extremely hot summer provided just the right conditions for dense growth, so much so that one cannot see into the forest!  It's rather spooky...

However, there are little hints of nature here and there telling me we are near the end of one season and the beginning of another.  My garden looks pathetic, although promising to provide tomatoes for some time to come.  The hanging basket on my porch should be put out of its' misery and taken to the compost pile but I don't have the heart to do so with a few colorful flowers hanging on.

The streets in town are crowded with U-Haul trucks and trailers, traffic is much heavier, and the grocery stores are packed.  All signs... even for the most unobservant among us... that the University is rising from its' summer slumber.  Although it never really sleeps with summer school and continuous research... there is a nice summer slowdown feel during May, June, and July and one can actually find a parking place in front of the library.

Nature has me pondering seasons, as well as the changes here at home.  We are most definitely in the empty nest season now but I am surprisingly calm and ready for it.  Not so much last year when Christopher moved out to live on campus for the first semester.  But this August it is different and we are all filled with grace and anticipation as it is time for him to go out on his own, especially with a wedding coming up in May.  He also lives fifteen minutes away.  :)

My husband remarked not just a few times this past week that I am letting no moss grow under my feet as I transformed Christopher's room but I have had ideas running through my mind for weeks now.  It also gave me an opportunity to do something within my power to organize, straighten, box up, put away, and then create... with so much of the rest of the house in waiting mode for the insurance settlement.

So many parts of my life are changing with this transition... from the way the house looks to my cooking habits.  Last night I made a crustless quiche for dinner, which hubby and I enjoyed very much.  It's one of those meals Christopher does not care for (which I have yet to understand as he likes eggs in about any other form).  Since he is no longer coming home for lunch, those menus are also being tweaked.  I don't make less for most evening meals... we like leftovers.  ;)

I was pondering this week how it is just as silly to get all upset over the season we are living in life as it would be to wish away summer for autumn (believe me, I tried in the 110 heat index!).  There is the good and ummm... not so good... in each season of life.  Every sleep deprived mother of preschoolers most likely dreams of the season in which kids sleep late... I did. 

Older women told me the years go fast and to appreciate each day.  Having lost a parent very early in life, I knew that our years can be brief.  There were many times I made mental pictures of favorite family times but even then it seemed as though the days moved slowly but the years went by at the speed of light.  It must be a mother's perception of time and space and Physics.

There are fond memories of my daughter's childhood years and then later homeschooling my son but I also enjoy seeing the young woman and young man they became... not to mention incredibly intelligent and well behaved grandchildren.  Okay, they are smart and their parents are working on that well behaved part.

Sometimes I pass the trails where Christopher and I spent many a summer day hiking and collecting for our nature studies (a must with Charlotte Mason, you know).  These days I couldn't make it up the first hill, although I would love to have the opportunity to once again picnic in the nearby park with both "kids" (their father hates eating outdoors, I think he experienced enough of it as a soldier in Viet Nam). 

Perhaps next year when the family meets for Christopher and Miss M.'s wedding but even then a picnic at the park will be different.  Instead of my children running around the play area and looking for arrowheads on the dry creek bottom, it will be grandchildren.  Although I'll still be on the lookout for snakes.  :(

But that is all just fine.  I have learned to not only accept this season but to embrace it in all its limitations and fullness.  I can't say it was easy at first for transitions are never easy for me.  I once told a blog friend that our 40s are our transition years when we leave the last bloom of youth at age 39 and end up in true middle age at 50... it is our attitude toward the changes that determine what the next season will be like. 

I am convinced I could not have come to enjoy this next season if I had not been willing to accept it and even appreciate it for what it is.

I have written many times that my word this year is create.. after multiple years in which my word was hope.  While hope is still very important, it was the acceptance of this season (and all its' limitations) in which a return to create was birthed. 

Once again learning (over and over through the decades) to appreciate that season in which I am living... not looking back with romantic memories of special days... not looking forward with apprehension... but living right now and in this moment... the gift of today.

Life is not what I expected it to be in this season of life.  Developing a chronic illness took me completely by surprise!  I thought once the homeschool years were behind us, I would become a pastry chef, or a caterer, or at least work in a cute bookstore somewhere.

Instead I have to depend on Him for all extra provision (with even part-time work at the college bookstore now too tiring) but I have also learned there is a lot one can do just a little at a time.  It's amazing, really, and this season even provides a room in which to create.

Perhaps I'll start with a box of crayons...


Anonymous said...

A little at a time...I identify with that too. As we work on our down-sizing, paring down season of life now. As we explained to our grandchildren, who stayed over this weekend, we are only going to be living in a SMALLER place now, WHEREVER that turns out to be. We know change is on the way...the rest to be worked out yet. Tis ok...our desires and hopes for many things are different in this age of life.

Blessings on your doings,

jAne said...

i identify with this post.
we're empty nesters now and are looking toward downsizing, perhaps even relocating. our meals are simpler, our home remains fairly clean and we enjoy occasional visit t/o the week with our daughter. i'm not quite sure i can say with all happiness that i like this stage of life..yet. it's a new rhythm and i'm not fully 'into its beat'. i'll get there. hopefully soon.

thank you, brenda.

Anonymous said...

You didn't get to carry out some of your plans but you do minister to a lot of people who read your blog. God works in mysterious ways sometimes...

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Another blogger was just considering this idea of "to everything there is a season" and it's almost always in my mind. Life changes. We change. And we are not meant to cling to the past, however wonderful those days seemed. We need to make these days the new wonderful. Somehow. Perhaps that "Create" which is your special word for this year, is not about works of art, in particular, but about our lives which need to be recreated.
When our children are young and growing there is so much that must be done that we don't have time to think about this so much. But when we are older and they have flown the nest, we do need to consider what life we should be living. We have special gifts and they should be used and we need to figure out what that means. No part of life should be wasted. Thank you for reminding me that I am certainly not alone in this project! And not without hope.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

~nanashouse~ said...

Love, love, love your blog. I stop by often (ok very often). You encourage and bless me. Just thought you should know.

Mrs.Rabe said...

I can sense your peace with where things are right now. I won't be an empty nester for many years yet, but I am always trying to see it (the empty nest stuff) as the next and proper stage! I can see how you are seeing Christopher's move this time, as the next proper stage for him, as he is transitioning toward marriage!

It is late and I am rambling...good night!

Anonymous said...

Kristi's thoughts added to yours so well ! Great thinking too. Our nest is empty of our children...but not empty. Still full of love and good memories of the past and lots more to come! All from the one who created us! :) Sarah