As featured in The Reflector:
As far as I’m concerned, fall time is spectacular. There’s something beautiful about the crisp air and all of that change.
I live in Eastern Washington and we had a really long summer this year. Then fall came flying in with a vengeance. We had a windstorm rage through here last night that tore the barely changing leaves off of my favorite tree. It’s usually the last in our yard to lose them.
Hunter came flying through the front door to tell me the news. I went out to look and truthfully, I was kind of perturbed at first. Other trees had remained basically unaffected, but not that one. The storm really had altered its fate.
Later that morning I was at a friend’s home. They had a downed tree limb in their yard from the same storm. It snapped the top right off. It was sort of comical because they weren’t very fond of the tree at all and so the change of fate for their tree was more welcome.
So my thoughts rested on the seasons. I thought about how the change from one to another is sometimes so gradual that we barely notice. We wake up one day to snow on the ground, a little perplexed about when winter arrived.
Other times, just like this year, the change is much more dramatic. There’s no easing into it. Instead the warmth of the sunshine is chased away by biting cold.
And isn’t life just that way? The seasons always change. Always. Sometimes it’s so gradual that we’re barely aware of where the time went and other times we’re pummeled by it and knocked off our feet.
This is especially true of parenthood.
Occasionally my collision with my own motherhood is brutal. I sit nearly lifeless, thinking that I can’t referee one more fight or mate one more pair of socks. I feel this sneaking rebellion to refuse to wash one more dish, make one more bed or scrub one more toilet. I find myself recoiling at the thought of changing one more diaper or having one more night of continually interrupted sleep. My will doesn’t want to comply for one more second. This particular season literally knocks me off of my feet from time to time.
But there are other times. Moments like yesterday when I find myself wondering where the time has gone. Kyle and I were having a discussion with our two boys. I was amazed as I looked at them and realized they weren’t really little boys any more. I couldn’t figure out what had happened or when, but something definitely had.
As I’ve thought about the two completely opposite ways that the seasons of our lives change, I’ve realized that one thing is certain. It is irrelevant whether the change is welcome or unwanted. And it doesn’t matter if time slowly eases us through it or dramatically knocks us over the head. That change is coming either way.
This simple truth has implications for every parent. Life moves and you have to move with it. It’s not optional.
Parenthood is the furthest thing from predictable to ever exist. Children are given to us and sometimes they’re not. Children grow up and sometimes they’re taken from us long before that happens. Children choose well and sometimes they don’t. Children leave us and sometimes those children come back.
We can’t control the times or the seasons, but we can control the state of our hearts. We can learn to see the change that comes as a blessing, regardless of what form it takes. My friends welcomed the change to their tree because it was wanted. I rejected mine because it wasn’t.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In another season that tree will bloom again. And just as nature moves and bends and accommodates every change in the weather and environment, so can we.
Acceptance is power. A will that bends with what is required is strength. And one day you wake up and realize that your heart has been perfectly directed right where it needed to go. And it ended up there because of the change and not in spite of it.