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I want to be a fall girl. Like my friends. I really do.
They wrap fall around themselves as beautifully as the burnt-orange and brown-colored scarves they pull out of their closets and drape loosely around their necks.
"Isn't flannel shirt season the very best?" They ask me in delight.
"No. It isn't." I shake my head emphatically to punctuate my dissent.
They sip on their pumpkin- and maple-spiced lattes in frothy bliss. (In their flannels of course.) This only deepens my consternation.
My daughter and her friend have their Christmas music blaring. "Are you kidding me?!" I exclaim. "On the second day of November?"
"Well, I feel it's technically acceptable once we have our first snowfall, and we have already had that," my daughter explains.
This reminder that this did indeed take place—and about a month early at that—only causes my irritation to deepen.
I recall my sister's words, "Bah humbug, Scrooge," she laughingly chided me. But it doesn't move me to change.
I want to be crabby. I'm in mourning for my love that has left. It happens every time this year. I should be used to it. This yearly abandonment. But for some reason I never am.
While the trees in all glorious color gently sprinkle beautiful shades of red, yellow, and orange around me and on my path, I search in desperation for any glimpse I can of my parting love…summer.
I want its warmth to heat my skin once again to a bread-toasted brown. I want to dig out my sunglasses from the junk drawer. My flip flops from the closet. I want to hear our friends and family and their kids splashing and laughing in lake's delight. I want to join in the joy of loved ones improving their water sports skills. To take a lazy late afternoon pontoon ride with my father- and mother-in-law.
To thumb clusters of juicy berries from branches into my palm and watch the blue stains ensue. To hang with neighbors around campfires late into the night munching on homemade pizzas from the outdoor pizza oven while discussing life.
I want to listen to the bird's sing songs to each other and watch the ducks and their ducklings swim back and forth under our dock. I want to listen to the loons' sorrowful call and watch the long-legged Great Blue Heron walk stealthily like Sherlock Holmes down our dock. To spy quietly at the eagle that hangs out in our tree scoping out fish below.
To watch my dogs chase the squirrel couple back up my neighbor's tree. To see the robin's baby-blue-speckled eggs in my hanging basket hatch into soft feathered delights with mouths pointing toward the sky searching for daily nourishment, until one-by-one they find the bravado to try their maturing wings and leave.
Yes, I want summer to stop deserting me. But every year it does. And every fall while my friends visit apple orchards and carve pumpkins, I stack up our outside furniture, paddle boards and kayak into the boathouse, uninflated the floaties and tubes, dump my once gorgeous annuals that the cold has chocked the life from into the woods, and battle the blues.
I know fall is not trying to harm me. It is only gently trying to prepare me for my true nemesis, winter.
But as this season's chilling breeze whips around me, it also finds me watching, and trying to help in some way, several loved ones fighting health battles. When some of this was going on in the summer, the bright sunshine gave me—and I think them as well—more energy and hope to take on these battles. The sun has the power to do that.
Thankfully, the Son does as well. And he never leaves us.
This is what I remember. I remember that he still has good plans for me. And for my friends and family. That despite the season, I am to carry out that purpose. That my faith tells me to not rest on my feelings, but on his infinite goodness. On his limitless strength. His awesome power.
That Thanksgiving arriving on fall's wings is a perfectly-timed reminder for me to be grateful for my most blessed hope, savior, healer and friend, Jesus.
I hope the same for you dear ones, created in God's image and perfectly loved.
"I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 (NLT)
"I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment. Love each other in the same way I have loved you." John 15:9-12 (NLT)