Have you begun to notice the subtle changes as fall tries to inch its way in while summer continues to hold on?
Recently I took a drive in to town, the sun was up, windows were down and the breeze which I felt across my face was that of fall. It was light, crisp, and gentler than the breeze which accompanied summer. Fall had announced itself in that simple moment it awakened my senses. As I pulled into the community park, I put my truck in park and stepped onto the path. Having accidently forgotten my earbuds at home, I found myself becoming in tune with every step I took. My senses roused one by one, and I began taking note of the subtle changes that were occurring around me and likely unnoticed by those driving by.
I passed an empty parking lot that was once filled with cars of those who arrived early for swim team. There were no lifeguards perched in their stands or making rounds alongside of the pool rather the empty fields which were right next door were marked and set with goals for soccer practices and games. The many trees that line the path were a mix of those who were staying steady in the season while others were ready to begin the process that would soon show off their radiant colors echoing the brilliance of which we observed in spring. The fields soybean fields which border the western side of the park held a firm grip to summer, unlike some of the trees, as they know they still have opportunity for growth.
The very same day of having taken a walk in the park, I began taking note of other signs of fall in this college town. Pulling into the grocery store parking lot college students were both hurrying and leisurely walking in and out the sliding doors gathering what they needed for their dorm rooms and rentals. The produce department was no longer filled with only mom’s and their small children but buzzing with students and those stocking shelves. It was in this moment I realized that while the season around me was struggling to let go, giving way to the next, I too was in the same position. It was through the subtleties of that day that helped me realize all the emotions tied to our youngest beginning kindergarten was building a fortitude within.
For the past year I had anticipated the freedom that would come of having all our children in school. It was something I hadn’t experienced since college, 14 years ago, and was hopeful the uninterrupted time would allow me to pour into the things which I have struggled make time for. Knowing our youngest was more than ready to take on this new chapter in his life and that I too was ready for my new adventure, I was surprised when emotions of sadness unexpectedly barreled down at me. I was confused by it all as I was finally in a place, I had planned for but I had failed to realize in all the planning that once everyone left for work and school I was going to be left alone.
As I stood in front of this new chapter in life, it reminded me of the fall in which I didn’t return to teaching and how I missed the company of the students in my class and our twins who had also just entered kindergarten. However, it reminded me that leaving my career was the first step into the next chapter God had planned for myself and our family. It was the step that led us to growing our family and taking the leap of moving to our farmhouse in the country. Through loosening my grip of a season, I had grown complacent in, doors opened unexpectantly giving way to a life I never dreamed of. A dream that I would never trade.
Letting go can at times can feel easy while at other times shakes us to our core. In the season of our lives where we are overcome with emotions and are resistant to turning the last page in a chapter that we know is complete, know that when letting go the chapters that came before this new one has prepared you. Give yourself permission to grow, even if there are some bumps and bruises along the way. For it’s in these moments in the marathon of our lives where we gain the fortitude necessary in the journey that lies ahead.