The Promise of Summer
Sorry for the radio silence…I’m back in school finishing my B.S. in Psychology and it has a tendency to soak up every last free minute of my life.
But here I am this evening, swinging in a hammock in my backyard, Jared smoking a pipe across from me, and I have a bowl full of cherries next to me. The sky is that beautiful hazy pink color of summer and the breeze is whispering a lovely little tune through the leaves of the big old cherry tree in our backyard. Everything is golden, and lovely, and magical.
And as I settle and enjoy this moment, I realize something. I am happy. But more than that, my whole heart is at rest. I am so content.
I turned 31 a week or so ago, and that birthday was remarkably different from when I turned 30. I hadn’t expected the mini-midlife crisis to sneak up on me like it did. And suddenly, the “I’m 30…let’s celebrate!” turned into a reminder of dashed dreams, of places I thought I would already be, of loneliness, and fears that swallow you whole. And of all these reasons I had to celebrate vanished into a day full of inconsolable tears.
But oh, even on that day, when I was wailing and feeling so lonely, and out-of-place, and misunderstood, God reached down in His grace and reminded me that I am known and loved (please read about it here).
So here I am today, one year older and I think about the changes that have occurred in this last year. And really, from an outside perspective, nothing has really changed. It’s still just Jared and I, and our dog and cat. We live in the same house, still go to the same church, and have the same group of friends. I still get up and go to the same job, and still struggle with finding the motivation to cook and clean when I get home. I’m still way too attached to my iPhone, and still finding myself getting teary at times when I watch families with young kids.
But when I explore what has been going on in my heart, I find that change has actually come. It reminds me of tonight. Somewhere, amidst our busyness, I failed to notice that summer was actually here. You’d think with the hot days we have been having, I would notice the change in seasons, like a commanding announcement that summer has arrived. Instead, I notice it more than ever tonight and like the breeze, its subtle. It’s warm and inviting. It’s not constant like a blistering hot desert wind, but invites me to swing slowly in my hammock, as it tickles the hairs around my face. It allows me to be quiet and enjoy this moment.
And it dawns on me…I am okay that nothing has “appeared” to have changed. I think of last year’s prayer and realize it has been answered, or at least is BEING answered. I like the “being” part. It’s a process. One that will accompany me the rest of my life, regardless if children come. Because it is not about children. It’s about God and I, and evenings like this where we talk without words. It’s about giving my heart the freedom to explore and uncover perfectly small, mundane moments of a life that is extraordinarily ordinary and finding that these are what make it beautiful. It’s about letting go of my demands for something else, so I can see the wildflowers at my feet.
I look at my husband, who is quietly content smoking his pipe, and think here is a man who makes my heart so full, it can never be truly be broken. In our eight years of marriage, I don’t think there has ever been a year where we have laughed so much as this one.
I think about all the birthdays I had growing up with my family, and realized this year was the first birthday since I was 20, where we all were together to celebrate. The cupcakes, party favors and punch of yesteryear were replaced with fine dining, laughter, and glasses of wine. And I remember looking around the table, and feeling like my heart might burst. To still gather as a family, whole, and complete, all these years later is something I won’t ever take for granted.
Contentment hasn’t been a stranger, or even a visitor. It’s been my heart’s companion. I know it’s from You, and while I don’t deserve it, I know it’s Your gift and an answer to the prayers of others on my behalf. These are great friends. Old ones, and new ones a like. Who are not afraid of my honesty, and yet love me and pray for me, even when I don’t feel like doing it myself.
There were times this last year, where I felt distant from You, as though I were doing nothing but going through the motions and I know I will share more about that at another time. But right now, I am going to be quiet, and invite this evening into my heart and allow a new melody of thankfulness to hum quietly in the breeze.