It’s Only a Season

Version 2

Fall officially arrived last week on the calendar. Signs of it are on Facebook and in Halloween candy displays at grocery stores. Cracker Barrel has Fall items for sale and even some Christmas stuff. So it must be true that Fall has arrived even though the weather is not completely showing it. It’s just beginning to go from 90+ degree-days to cooler mornings and evenings. This morning is cool enough to have the windows opened. The sky is a light grey and the sun is filtering through the clouds.

The changing seasons are tricky for me. Some are easier than others. Fall-to-Winter and Winter-to-Spring happen with no apparent affect on me. Perhaps because of living in Southern California most my life where there isn’t much change in the seasons? Fall meant school, Winter meant Christmas and when Christmas was over it was Spring, not according to the solstices but according to my senses.

Now living in middle Tennessee I experience true seasonal changes. Winter is more than Christmas for sure. It’s a cold January through March with snow and ice and bare trees and no flowers. I appreciate Spring’s beauty and cheerfulness much more because of its limited appearance. Even so, I roll with these transitions without much ado.

But, it’s different when it comes to the transition of Spring-to-Summer and Summer-to-Fall. Perhaps that is also because of growing up in Southern California? Summer was the most distinct season. Summers were the beginnings of all things new. School was over and I would be moving on to a higher grade. It marked the end of a year of my life and the beginning of a new one. Summer was a time to rest, to have fun, to transition. It was the in-between time. It was hot days in the sun, camping, beaching, and pooling. It was vacations and new places to explore. It was picnics and barbecues and playing barefoot on the grass until late into the evening. I loved Summers as a kid. I loved having Summers with my kids.

Spring-to-Summer stirs up sweet and melancholy memories.

Summer-to-Fall stirs up memories, too, starting with the first of the cool evenings piquing my senses for the coming change.

I think Fall has become the favorite season for most people. I wonder if it’s because of a trend in marketing? Seems like we just can’t wait to start decorating our front doors and baking cookies. Is this because of Target and Betty Crocker?

Anyway, I like Fall. I like decorating my front door and my living room with fake brown and orange leaves. I like the sound of a football game on TV. I like the smell of a roast in the oven.

I don’t like missing Jim. This was his favorite season. He loved my decorations. I only heard the football games because he was watching them. I loved his roast with garlic and carrots.

I’m in no rush to move from Summer to Fall, but it’s going to happen. I’m letting it pull me into itself naturally instead of me forcing it sooner with fake leaves.

Maybe my in-between time is coming to an end. Maybe not. I don’t know how long it takes to move out of grieving for your spouse of 34 years. I’ve been at the end of a season and the beginning of another for almost two years now. The Scripture says in Ecclesiastes that there is an appointed time for everything under heaven. It’s only a season.


Early Morning Wake Up

Version 2

My phone alarm went off at 6am. It was still dark outside. I thought it was the middle of the night. I was going to mute the ringer thinking it was someone from California who forgot I lived in a different time zone. Then I thought it could be a family member in trouble so I better answer it. Then I realized it was the alarm I set last night. All this thinking and adrenaline in less than 5 seconds definitely woke me up.

Before going to bed I prepared the coffee and set it to start brewing at 6am. This is a great invention on a coffee maker. Especially for those of us whose brains don’t function well when we are forced to get up at an indecent hour. Before I had access to such a wonderful feature – useful in the wee hours of the morning – I have found myself waiting for the coffee because I forgot to add the water, or I put the water in the carafe instead of the maker, or I forgot to turn on the maker.

Now don’t start judging me all you early birds. I’m determined to join the flock.

In my pursuit of full time employment I’ve realized that I will probably be working something like 8 to 5, so I’m training my body and my mind. Today was the first day. My goal was to be ready to walk out the door at 7:30.

I did good. I was ready at 7:25. I thought about getting in the car and going somewhere like the grocery store to see if my mind would function as well as my body seemed to be doing. Nah, that might be pushing it. From what I remember about training you need to start slowly and build up to more weights and repetitions. So I settled into my rocking chair and spent more time reading and praying.

An hour later I got in my car and went to Lowes and Ace Hardware to finally get the items needed to clear my 6 month-old to-do list of household fixes. Wow, I was truly surprised by the traffic. Hardly anybody was in the stores, but there sure were a lot of cars on the roads. It was about 8:30. Does this mean most people start work at 9? I like that better than starting at 8.

As I was driving home I was thinking to myself I could do this – get up early, have time for reading and prayer and be ready to get out the door by 7:30. Then my stomach starting gurgling. I was hungry. I forgot to eat breakfast. Hmm, I need to make time for that too and then there’s lunch. I could make my lunch the night before, maybe even my breakfast? I wish Mr. Coffee would make a breakfast maker with a timer.

All of this training because I have a job interview for an administrative assistant position at a bank in their mortgage operations department. I’ve been given this opportunity through a job placement agency and they have other possible jobs and interviews waiting for me. There is so much to do to get ready. Do my business attire clothes still fit? What about shoes? Could I really work in heels all day? Is it time to go flat or almost flat? Do I need to start getting my nails done?

The first thing I need to do is work up to not needing a nap because I’ve started my day so early.

Let me just fantasize for a moment…

Instead of working for a large highly structured corporation I’m working for an entrepreneurial-spirited-millennial who was raised by hippies in a commune and doesn’t believe in business attire or getting your nails done. The office is located upstairs in an historic building with a cozy café downstairs that serves delicious and healthy food, thereby I don’t have to eat breakfast at home or bring my lunch. My job is a combination of interaction with people and a computer. I’ve caught the vision of the visionary and I can articulate it and implement it. The work is all about making the world a better place to live and it utilizes all my gifts and talents in a creative process. I’m so excited to go to work that getting up at 6am is a breeze and I never want to nap.

It’s possible. I’m hopeful.

I think I will turn this fantasy into a prayer with maybe a few tweaks. Why not? Jesus said we could ask anything in His name and He would do it, then the Father would be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13-14)

I’m in training, starting slowly and working up to more weights and repetitions. Starting with a prayer and a 6am wake up.