Autumn has begun its final approach to the Flint Hills.
Cooler weather signals relief from the scorching summer sun and wilting humidity. A change is in the wind.
It also means soon the grass will be veiled in its wintry brown and flowers will have faded with the splash park days.
Football-weather breezes and pumpkin lattes arrive as long playful days and the “boys of summer” leave the stage.
With every welcomed rest comes loss.
It is as if the old is cleared to make way for the new or – as is so often the case – the old is abandoned and we are faced to live in what remains.
Seasons changing? In Kansas, we expect this.
Kids launch…that’s what we’ve prepared for since those first swaddling days.
Job loss? Family fractures? Illness and uncertainty?
We don’t expect them.
Though these “unexpecteds” are as common as the changing seasons in the lives around us, we are always surprised…gobsmacked when they happen to us. When they happen to our kids and family. Friends.
I imagine the aftermath of a tornado that has surgically wended its way through neighborhoods, businesses, families. What do we – the untouched by the wind and destruction – say or do as our friends pick up the pieces?
We’ve talked before in these blogs about not.saying.anything. About sitting with people in quiet and the uneasy unanswerable space that loss creates. About pitching in a hand to move, clear, and rebuild.
We’ve moseyed through encouragements and cheering on.
Let’s go play!
Let’s find life!
Let’s grieve as the day demands.
Let’s fall down and get back up again.
Today, I am thinking of the many many loving, quirky, fun, friendly, goofy people who have wept with me when I wept. Laughed in our good times. Pointed out a possible blind spot. Forgiven and asked for my forgiveness. These connections are precious. They keep me hopeful.
You see, I am more convinced today that after every disaster
and every flavor of loss
are the people.
The kids that look to us and long for us to sit quietly beside them
friends to share our silly-string with them
or their tears.
What remains are the people who call or write (I love snail mail)
or break bread and land-speed records in making it across town
who say “I see you” in ways that whisper
“I see you and this is not all you are or there is for you.”
These are the people – the reasons – we remember that life is full of arrivals and partings – seasons.
So as winter moseys up to the bar, we can trust – though we cannot see – the seeds of spring and summer are pushed underground to rest until their next growing season.
What remains are the people
and the seeds of a new and hopeful tomorrow.
Seasons and transitions
They call for our very best everyday derring-do (and good company).