...Five lakes of greatness reflect that ozone above us and calloused soles burn dark as we tread the stamped concrete beneath us. Us Michiganders, we are fierce. We bear the frigid, stark, hollow forbidden winter stomping through drifts of white snow and making the best of it all. The buds finally appear after the last of the frost, sometimes not until late May and we inhale Springtime...we really can smell the fragrance of the season and it permeates and renews down into our cores. That hope of rejuvenation, redemption, renewal... the hope of things to come seems to not only be the light at the end of the tunnel but actually is what gets us through the long, frozen-over, body-numbing winter. Just the sheer memory of bright green leaves dancing in the wind and dry, clear sidewalks making life easy and ice-free can help set the mind right. The four seasons of our great mitten state are a draw and a steadfastness that only a Michigander can truly appreciate. The fall brings crisp, exuberant color along with the orange hue of crackling bonfires and hayrides. Apples and pumpkins and flannels and boots. We marvel and take it in, the magnificent beauty of death...the trees turn like chameleons before our very eyes and amaze us as the wind blows each leaf down and bareness takes ahold of naked branches. So the cycle goes, continues. Season after season, year after year, decade after decade. We stay.
And when the kids finished up school and summer was staring us in the face on the calendar not on our skin...We packed up and headed north, as most of us do...We went UpNorth. We do every year. We go to the same city, same location...We try to recreate memories and capture a few good pictures on the same beautiful beach with sand dunes showing off behind...But this year our plans had to change, just a little...We had to make different arrangements at the last minute and found a rustic rental available...Our plans had to alter for work schedules and already low expectations were validated strong as we laid sleeping bags on top of cobwebbed beds. And in that dirty, soiled up over charged place we made new beautiful memories. Granted most were outside. We spent our days fishing amongst lime green lily pads and riding tandem into the quaint little town to devour scoops of delicious ice cream. We stuck our toes into icy cold Lake Michigan and read for hours. At the end of the day our family stood awestruck as the sun made it's glorious descent painting the sky magnificent indescribable colors. The kids played hard with their cousins and spent cherished time with grandparents, aunties and uncles...We fried up fresh fish hand caught and gathered around the table and the bonfire later on with stuffed bellies full of smores and fermented grapes. The katydids joined in our song and everyone glowed from the inside out.
And even though I usually cling tight to the nostalgic, this time away made me realize I tend to try and recreate the same moments all too often. And not only physically but spiritually speaking. Our trip shed a new light into my soul and the lesson is this, to find joy in the current time. Whatever or wherever that may be. The surroundings may be filthy and maybe even frightening. But there is beauty to be found in the midst of the ugly.
Seasons of life are ever changing.
You may be facing the desolate body-shivering cold of a winter white depression. Maybe your marriage is falling apart or the doctor made that life-altering call and you have to bravely journey down the C word road.
Birds could be chirping and Spring buds may be ready to bloom where you are. An exciting new marriage or precious bundle of sweetness could be adorning your world blooming bright.
Death could be knocking on your loved ones door and the autumn leaves may be turning many shades fading your green to brown. The warmth of fire and cider hot may keep you company as you have to say goodbye to a toxic relationship and move on to healthier horizons in your current fall time...
And maybe your summertime of life is finally here. You have been waiting patiently and golden days keep you barefoot with toes in the sand. Life has given you some lemons and somehow you're drinking lemonade as you swing high and touch the clouds braving new adventures, maybe a new job now after a long lay off is finally paying the bills. Or maybe you're in the throws of muggy humidity and sweat is dripping off your brow as you change another diaper, load another dishwasher, fold another towel... You just long for some fresh air-conditioned wind to sweep through and offer some relief.
These seasons can never be recreated or replicated. They will live on in the memory of our lives but duplicate free. Tonight I am telling myself to let my moments, each sacred one, make it's mark. I am praying that I will not forget but always remember and never compare certain times in my life to other times...And hopefully I will soak up and learn to dance with grace relishing the present as God continues to redeem these moments blowing His Spirit into my flesh turning them into something significant. This heart is filled with yearning to share in other's seasons, lend a hand or an ear, or bear some of a burden for them. To gather around a table and listen to other's tell their stories of seasons past. I pray for hope to fill you and me up to overflowing pouring over into those around us. Season after season, time after time always changing never the same but always significant.