And just like that it was summer. The weather was warm, the fans blowing, The AC whirring. The mornings early, the night long, the shadows dancing under full canopies of green leaves. It’s these season changes that happen overnight that catch me by surprise. At the end of this summer, my baby girl who was born 8 weeks early and lived in a NICU for five weeks will go to school. She’s adamant that she will use her Curious George backpack and that she will be my baby no matter how old she is, but I can tell she can’t wait to do all sorts of grown up things… And I want to watch her thrive while doing them. Just like that, she’ll be a school girl and then in college, and then an adult.
It’s the season changes that catch us by surprise. The summer morning, the trees all dark green, the first cold morning in the fall, the sudden realization that all the leaves have turned glowing and golden, the empty trees filled with snowfall, the new flowered trees bowering with pink and white. Life can sneak up on us by surprise some days. It taps us on the shoulder or gives us a giant hug, or sometimes a violent slap and says, “Hey! I am here!”
We talk about living in the moment. We talk about being present. We talk about savoring. And we try hard to do these things. My social media feeds are filled with articles on how to savor the moment, photos of others savoring their moments, videos snapping away the moments of time passing before us, pins of beautiful moments we want to capture and hold. We try quite hard to live and stay in the moment.
But the weekend away, the long stretch of rainy days, the flurry of activity over a few days, the hospital stay…these things, that throw us into living in the moment, make us look up startled when time laps us around a turn. Sometimes we are so busy living that we miss life passing by.
I’m sitting watching the sun rise higher, watching the shadows dance harder. I’m welcoming back those summer mornings like a dearest, oldest friend. But I’m conjointly feeling that pang inside that tells me this beautiful doesn’t last long. This old friend leaves again far too soon and if it returns for me, all will be altered in my life. I’ll have a school girl for a daughter, I’ll wear more gray hair, more wrinkles. I’m feeling that strange creep of youth tiptoeing toward the stage exit. I don’t feel old, but I’m feeling my sprightliness turning on me inside, knowing there are certain adult things in my life that will never change, no matter the optimism with which I propel myself into the future. There are attachments to little people, to career moves, to housing and school choices, to churches. Circumstances will change, but parts of my heart will never be free again. Scars and regrets bring wisdom, love brings joy, time brings age.
We can’t stop time. So we face time. Occasionally it makes us double take. Sometimes I like to think we capture a few seconds, fooling time. I like that illusion. I sit still on summer evenings, breathing in floral scents and salt air, hoping for the past and the future to collide for a few seconds, caught, captured. But it cannot be and like Elsa says, the past is in the past. We keep rolling forward.
I like to think that “all will be made new” while referring to my soul and heart, will also mean a few more summer mornings to enjoy for an eternity. I like to think the hope I have is not merely in seasons or clinging to time, but that all being made new means the joy of the summer morning will be replaced with a greater, larger, more encompassing joy. The passing happiness we chase through life is elusive. But the simple joys like an early summer morning, with chirping birds and dancing shadows are elusive too, but they are elusive mirrors into the artistic Creator. They show us glimmers that point our restlessness to a rest.
So we go out into the dancing shadows, the great cosmic dancing shadows, charging ahead, looking for moments to capture. We know we cannot alter time, rather time alters us, but we look to a Constant. A creative Being that never changes, but always makes new. And that paradox makes time’s race a little more shining, shimmering, and beautiful, like diamond whitecaps bouncing on blue waves.