There's a hilly field that I pass by on my way to and from church. When my preschool job (which is also at my church) starts again, I'll be passing this field several times a week, as I did this past school year. This field is next to a white house, and all of it is enclosed by a brown fence. A chestnut horse often peacefully grazes within my view as I drive past this field. I guess I'll be a Kentucky girl no matter where I live, because I happen to very much like looking at chestnut horses in hilly fields next to white houses, enclosed by brown fences. My parents taught school in a county that was half an hour away from where we lived, and I went to elementary and middle school in the county where my parents taught instead of in the county where I lived. As a result, I spent a great deal of my childhood staring out car windows at Kentucky fields and hills, white houses surrounded by brown fences, horses and cattle grazing on green grass.
It's amazing that I've even paid enough attention to the hilly field I pass several times a week to be able to tell you the color of the house, horse, and fence. Such things should be commonplace to me, and often times they are. There is a difference between Kentucky hills and North Carolina hills, just as there's a difference between Kentucky mountains and North Carolina mountains. But I've spent so much of my life driving past scenic country farmland that I often take all the separate beauty for granted.
But today, on my drive home from church, that field I pass all the time looked different. Thousands and thousands of golden flowers (I think they were golden rods) were scattered across the green. Great purplish bushes contrasted with the gold, causing me to mentally pause (if I had actually paused, the guy riding my bumper would have gladly rear-ended me). I couldn't stay there, but I took a moment to commit that beautiful scene to memory, because the way nature keeps moving and changing, that field of flowers could be gone tomorrow. And something tells me I was meant to see them before they passed away.
Next week, the girls I watch go back to school. I've uploaded all of the pics I took with them this beautiful summer. It has all gone by so quickly, and I'm glad for the memories I've made with them, as well as a bit regretful that I didn't try to make a few more. This time of my life is almost over, and soon I'll just have the girls in the afternoons when they get out of school. I'll be caring for a new classroom of children in my preschool (while saying another sort of goodbye to the ones I cared for last year, who will be across the hall in another classroom, getting loved on by new teachers who aren't me). I'll be developing new relationships through work and church, choir and my running group, and God only knows what else. I'll hopefully be writing/editing/querying again with renewed vigor. And I'm reminded that I am a person who is often resistant to change. But change happens. Nothing can stop it. It's the way life is.
In the past year, God has done a lot in my life. He brought me from a very long (5.5 years!!) season of winter into a season of springtime. I've grown because He's changed me. And since that winter was so long, I guess I expected the spring season to last a long time, too. But the thing about spring is, it never seems to last. There is a tremendous burst of life that all too quickly blossoms into summer, and summer just sort of relaxes into autumn. And everything changes, once more.
There's a line from Shadowlands (one of my favorite movies about the later life of C. S. Lewis) that fits my mood right now. C. S. Lewis was sitting at a desk talking to a friend, and he said, "Give me blizzards and frozen pipes, but not this nothing time. Not this waiting room of the world." He was expressing his thoughts about the change--that transitional period between seasons and stages of life. It was no longer winter, but spring had not yet come, and he felt restless. And part of me has been restless, too.
The winter that I lived in for 5.5 years wasn't all bad, but a lot of the time I just felt like a frozen Narnia waiting for Aslan to come, bringing Christmas and spring in his wake. Now that I've lived in a new and glorious Spiritual spring for a short year, I'm sensing that God's bringing me into another season. Perhaps He's already brought me out of spring and into summer without my knowledge, because I sense that autumn is approaching--both in a literal sense (obviously; there is no stopping the calendar) and a Spiritual sense. I sense a harvest coming. I think the harvest is going to involve many things. Since God has grown me so much in the spring, I expect the harvest is going to be plentiful.
I am almost afraid to hope for it, but I have a strong sense that a lot of the things I've been waiting for for a VERY long time are going to come to fruition. I don't know what that fruition will look like, but right now I am cautiously expectant, waiting (and trusting...always waiting and trusting) for what God's going to bring.
Since I've sensed the end of summer coming upon me, in the past couple of weeks I've checked out tons of books from the library, hoping to read as much as I possibly can before I develop a scheduled routine that makes reading for fun nearly impossible. I've taken a last-minute summer vacation in the only way I can financially afford to take one--by letting my mind enter into stories.
One of the books I've read has just served to reemphasize the idea that things are going to change in my life for the better. And maybe that means that I'm going to have to have a few final struggles before I can experience all the good things that harvest will bring. Because harvesting is a lot of work. It involves sweat and labor, long hours and effort. It involves decisions and discipline, but there's joy in that, too.
And the time will come for that soon. Very soon.
Right now, the harvest still hasn't come. I've still got some books from the library that want to be read. I still have a couple weeks before the preschool job starts. The calendar is moving. The flowers are going through their life cycles. Everything is changing. But now, right now, is a gift from God. There's nothing wrong with remembering; there's nothing wrong with looking expectantly towards the future. These things are very good, but not if they interfere with the joy that's to be experienced in the now. It might be one of those "nothing times" right now, but I don't feel restless anymore.
Sometimes I have to pursue peace, and peace is really something worth pursuing. That's something God has taught me a lot in this past Spring season. But I've learned that sometimes peace has a way of sneaking up on you and taking you by surprise. Right now, peace has surprised me. I'm exceedingly thankful for this time. The golden flowers on the hilly fields, the gently moving clouds in the blue late summer sky, the smells and sights and sounds of the world holding its breath...waiting for what the next season has in store.
This is a good time to be alive.