Sunday, March 18, 2012

as the seasons change.

The sun is warm and bright.  The degrees are in the 70's and the snow is gone.  Gradually you see the people of the north land peeking out the window to see if the dreaded winter monster has left.  It's a fickle monster, but at least for awhile it's away.  It might come to scare us again before the summer, but for now it looks like the seasons are changing.  The Cities come to life.  Patios open.  The warmth brings exhilaration and relief.  I must admit it takes me a good while to not feel naked without a scarf, but I embrace the change.  The warm breeze brings hints of new adventure to come as the seasons change.

I've mentioned seasons before (see "seasons: alone leads to together") on this blog.  They are an important pattern in life.  It's God's way of letting us know that He is still moving and moving forward.  It's awe inspiring.  You get to experience the richness of that season--be it sledding in the snow, strolling through leaves, swimming in the lake, or watching the earth reawaken.  And all the while that you're taking these lovely things in, you know it won't last. The grandeur of another season will soon take its place. 

My friend, Mary, (Mar--you may as well be a guest writer here) and I were talking about seasons the other night at dinner.  Mary let me in on a little life philosophy of hers: To live everyday like the wedding is tomorrow.  It could be an actual wedding you're thinking of or figurative, but to live your life like you're on the brink.  There's joy and excitement the day before a wedding for nearly everyone involved!  The thought of living life in that way is thrilling even at its mention.  It's believing that what God is going to do next and what is coming is going to be so great that I'm giddy!  It is the joy of what He's going to do and eventually how He will be our Eternal Groom.  That's SO thrilling that the joy spills into today.  Because friends, not everything is perfect about any season.  The flowers might bring allergies or lots of mud, the snow is cold and can be dreary, the fall (is pretty close to perfect) can bring cold winds and foliage withers, while summer can be scorching and packed with activity.  There are wonderful and difficult things about each season and at times we find ourselves longing for the next one.  I find myself longing for my next season of life--whatever that looks like.  There are things about my story right now that make me look forward to what is next.

I think God conveniently made it that way after the fall.  Our perfect relationship with Him that we  were designed for was broken.  For us, that means that no stage or season, until we see Jesus face to face, will feel complete.  It's not supposed to.  We were made for a lot more than this and if we did feel complete in it, we would more easily forget about our Maker.  So we wait and look forward with giddy excitement.  Tomorrow could be the day that a new season arrives in your story!

The other half of my conversation with my friend was about contentment.  Great combination, right?  Contentment is an on-again, off-again struggle for me.  Some days I'm happy as a clam with my story and the current setting and plot.  Other days, I struggle.  I struggled living on my own again.  I was angry about feeling isolated.  Finally, one day, it was as if God said to me, "don't wish this away."  I was changed in that moment.  I'm done wishing away seasons.  They come and go quickly enough as it is and I always seem to be wanting what I don't have.  I'm done with that.  Well, I'm trying to be.  Contentment is choosing to see time spent alone as an appointment set aside by my Creator to simply enjoy my company without interruption.  These times and opportunities that I have with Him and to minister to others are unique--the richness of this season.  Even though I'm excited for what is to come, I refuse to wish that away.  It is such a sweet, sweet meantime.

Anticipation and contentment.  We need both pieces.  Life is best lived when we are, both looking forward in anticipation for what's to come, as well as refusing to wish away where we are.  Here's to joy in the journey, for stories of seasons past, for the beauty of the present, and the thrill of what's to come.

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