So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16 (Message Bible)
However, all is not perfect in this fallen of worlds. The same weeks upon weeks of rain that resulted in a lush forest played havoc with my garden. Yes, the photo above is my garden now a center of weeds so high that to enter, one must be certain to wear heavy shoes, long slacks, and bring their garden gloves. For the heavy rains disintegrated the thick plastic landscape fabric covering the rows and caused weeds and brush to grow instead.
There are other winks and witnesses that the season is ending soon. The deck herbs and flowers look a little ratty when seen close up. The grass is growing far less than just a few weeks ago. The black walnuts are once again raining onto our roof as hungry squirrels make their way to the very end of tree limbs, causing the ripe nuts to fall on the ground and our roof. It occurs every year and I still jump the first few times I hear the now familiar thumps overhead.
Then there is the raining of the leaves from trees already discarding their spring and summer wardrobe. It is August and my deck is covered with leaves. Only the beginning of about a gazillion or so to come. Such is life when one lives surrounded by forest.
Sometimes I feel like a late summer day for there is still life and breath and creative thoughts and if one looks from a distance then all is well. But come a little closer and you will find the clues that the season is not as lush as it once was for there are prescription bottles, insulin needles, a pillow on the sofa for afternoon rests or naps, shoes for feet that are numb, and the boundaries are far more limited now.
I walked in my bedroom last week to fold laundry and noticed the basket sitting on the floor beside my bed. For in that basket are CDs. Those I listen to often are next to the CD player in the kitchen. There was a sadness when I looked at that basket for I haven't listened to any of that music for about a year and I like all of it.
A sense of the passing of our hours and days and weeks and years came over me. That knowledge that the train of time is quickly passing one depot after another and racing toward the destination at breakneck speed. Where has time gone?
I'm at home most days and there are still books unread and letters not written and too many podcasts to ever hear and music sitting in a basket by my bed neglected in the many other options vying for my attention.
Time races. Seasons change. Good things not accomplished. People we don't see again. The weeds of the everyday essential work overtake the goals and aspirations left undone in our rush toward the end of the race.
I suppose that is part of the brief sense of panic that day as I looked at the music in the basket on the wood floor. That realization that our Everyday had better reflect that which God intended from the beginning of the world.
Our decisions become our day. Our minutes become our life. How we choose to spend our time will be reflected in all of Eternity. We have this one life and it goes by far faster than we thought possible at age eighteen.
But you know, Summer's End is not all that bad. I am always ready for it as I don't care for hot weather and humidity... and this year with all the rain the bugs have attacked every time we left the front door to walk down the gravel lane to get the mail.
It is much the same with getting older if we look at it the same way. Just yesterday evening, I sat in the cozy hunter green overstuffed chair in the Study reading a short story by Rosamunde Pilcher while my husband watched preseason football in the living room (his beloved Chicago Bears vs. the Colts).
The sun was setting and a breeze blew in through the open window. The lights behind the chair reflected on the rest of the room and made it look very pretty and warm and cozy. I have said before that the Study is God's gift for the Empty Nest Syndrome. ;)
I've accepted this new season of life and learned that by doing so, the good stuff that comes along with it can be appreciated. Looking back is only good once in awhile as we have fond memories of days gone by. It is for this season we are to live. And I thank God for each new day as it is a gift not to be taken lightly. Whatever our age...
I think perhaps the best way to enjoy each new season and most especially the latter seasons of life is this... to fully recognize this is but the Shadowlands (as Lewis calls this life). This is not the end. I think he calls it the "cover page" of our real life.
For there will be a time and a day and a Forever to do that which we long to do here and for some reason or another... age or budget or small children or old parents or health or all kinds of things... we will wait to enjoy fully and perfectly in Eternity.
We are pilgrims and strangers only passing through... doing our best to leave this world a better place because we lived but fully realizing this is not our home.
In the meantime, I will embrace each day for what He provides... and take back my garden after the hard frosts and freezes of late autumn. I hope.