End of summer always stirs up a touch of melancholy in me. This goes all the way back fifty years to when my first batch of kids were little. I’ve never fully understood it unless it meant back to school, back to routine, goodbye to long lazy days, sunshine, swimming, crafts and no schedule. Even having grown grandkids has not put this recurring annual emotional sag to rest.
Thankfully it never lasts too long, though, because I’m too pragmatic to allow myself to wallow in any vague, unproductive interlude. I get over it as soon as I realize I can have a fire in the fireplace and replace my summer decor with autumn colors and fragrances. And, certainly, there’s always next summer to look forward to.
This chilly morning, the last day of September, I looked out and was surprised to see smoke on the pond and an unexpected white dusting on the grass and was forced to acknowledge that summer is actually over and winter is coming. But I also noticed that I don’t care whether or not I change my decor or create something new that did not exist before and concluded that, whatever, the seasons come and go anyway. I asked myself, “If I skip this year and do not pull out my pumpkins and fall decorations, what difference will it make?”
This year has been such a challenge on every level that I find myself stagnant in the pause. I’m not motivated. My creative energy, that spark of making do that has always been the engine beneath my positive attitude seems to be stuck. This is way not normal for me. I’ve always been one to embrace life fully day to day.
Strangely, this felt less pragmatic and more like giving up.
And then a familiar still small voice that has always challenged me to ignore crisis, naysaying, depression, criticism, or rejection, said the words that have kept me moving forward in the worst of years, those times of pending great unknowns, when it seemed relief and closures were unreachable, that suffering might be the new norm, and nothing I did was right or mattered.
“Do it for Me.”
To be clear, I don’t believe for a minute that God cares whether or not my seasonal decor is up to date. The inspiration, or shove into releasing the pause button, is not about worldly things or actions. Those four words are about standing in the face of adversity, maintaining equilibrium when the ship is listing and might even seem to be sinking, and trusting the One who is the Captain. The effort to keep believing that He is in control is what prevents me from shrinking under the weight of fear of defeat.
How can we effectively serve Him if we allow ourselves to be neutralized?
We can’t always know what our purpose in the greater scheme of things is, or how our own determination and grit might possibly inspire others to not give up, to not allow the adversary to win the battle. But, we can know, by the example of so many others, who having done all, stood. Those who refused to submit to being silenced or chose to defy the threat of the moment. Those who declared, “Which is worse, quitting or dying while trying?”
I looked out after the sun was fully up and the frost was melted away. I’m thinking about pulling out my autumn adornments as a confirmation that I got the message.