Sunday Morning Coffee: Changes

I don’t remember exactly when I began to be aware of changing seasons. I do remember playing outside when I was between three and four, and enjoying new boots. I think, though, that my first real awareness of changing seasons started when I entered kindergarten.

Maybe it was the regularity of the school day, the chill in the air as we began learning letters and numbers, playing outside on the playground and feeling the chill on the monkey bars, or the chains of the swings. Mittens became a part of my winter coat, threaded from one sleeve, across the back and into the opposite on a string my mom crocheted. Never lost my mittens 🙂

Outdoor play changed from roller skating to snowball fights and snowmen. We were outdoors a lot, back then. No screens–not even a television until I was eight. Summer was long evenings playing hide and seek or Red Rover; fall was jumping in leaf piles and going Trick-or-Treating; winter was lots of snow, and Christmas, and snow forts and snowmen and snowball fights and sledding. Spring was sheer joy, with rain and flowers and warmer temperatures and leaving heavy jackets and mittens in the closet, enjoying the freedom of running for the sheer joy of it.

We’re experiencing the change of season right now. Today was warm, nearly 70 degrees. We opened up the house and enjoyed the fresh air. Tomorrow it will be much colder, and that’s okay. We’re ready. We’ve had a glorious long October that melted into November and will linger still. It doesn’t get truly cold here until January and February, although some native Pennsylvanians would disagree with me about that. They’re wearing heavy jackets when I’m still happy in just a sweater, if that much. Growing up in Minnesota still affects me, I guess. I don’t start feeling really cold until, as I said, January or February.

Today we celebrated the 13th birthday with our youngest grandchild (I’m writing this on Saturday evening). His voice has changed, he’s getting so tall, and he’s showing a lot of what he will be as an adult. Life changes happen all the time. My grandkids change so much every time I see them. They’re almost all adults now, while in my mind they’re still little kids.

And I’m changing, too. My body isn’t young, and I can no longer participate in things I used to enjoy like volleyball, tetherball, swimming, rollerskating. I was never an athlete, but I got plenty of exercise as a kid. I’ve worked hard all through my marriage, keeping house on a shoestring, rearing my kids, substitute teaching and then teaching full time; going back to school at 50, getting a master’s degree so I could do private practice counseling. I loved teaching. Ioved counseling. I loved all the things I did for the various churches we’ve attended in our 53-year marriage. I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in teaching, music, speaking, running the church kitchen and more. I’ve been blessed to go places I never expected to see, meet wonderful people who have blessed my life, and have friends who go way back. My children are established and happy in their marriages. My grandkids are finding their way, and it’s fun to watch.

All these changes have set me on a rather introspective, nostalgic path. I am content to be in this season of my life. I don’t yearn to have my children still babies or toddlers under my care. I have a husband who still loves me in spite of my faults.

Most of all, as I age I also find more satisfaction in my Bible, in prayer, and in thinking about and learning about my Savior.

I am, by nature, a practical person rather than an emotional person. Oh, I can get quite emotional when the occasion arises, but mostly my life is bounded by order, organization, routine, planning and preparation. With all of that, I love to laugh. I love to see others laugh, and when I can make them do that, it gives me great joy.

There have been days of heartache, days of sorrow and loss, hard times when it seemed the work never ended and there was never enough money. Nights of sleeplessness with sick kids, or worrying about my husband being out on the road on his truck route in icy weather. The illness and deaths of my parents and Terry’s, a normal and expected part of life but never easy, just the same.

The point, I suppose, is that life is to be lived. Live it in joy and strength and hope! Don’t let fear be the driving factor for every decision. Choose faith, hope, and joy.

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