The girls and I have been 10 days in our new home now. This is the view from my big kitchen window. This window, this view, was one of the selling points for this house. I stood at the counter looking out over the Cane Creek valley and thought, "I could be happy here."
We hang so much on that idea, happiness. But take any long-range view of a life and you'll find a much more textured emotional palate than the bland monotony of any single state--even happiness. But we chase it, and we wait for it, sometimes with such desperation that we miss the simple, steady, constant opportunities for joy in the less-than-perfect present.
I find myself lately wanting more than anything to be present. To be NOW. Not then. Not later. But NOW.
Just two days before this radiant blue sky, everything was covered in snow. Even Winter is beautiful when it snows.
Today as I look at these mountains, I still think the view is beautiful. The way the shadows fall on the ripples of the mountain giving them a full three-dimensional effect. Is that what light and darkness do to our lives--flesh them out in fullness where otherwise they might be flat, monochromatic? Even the dark valleys reveal the high lighted areas, don't they?
But right now, in Winter, the leafless branches of the trees seem like bones to me. There is a reason we think to equate Winter with Death. And as I stand here looking, I remember how just two days before, it was so beautiful it took my breath away. Bones covered in still, even, gentle, unmarred whiteness.
Today, I am still thankful for the view, because it reminds me that this season as well will change. Winter isn't forever. As C.S. Lewis told us in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, "We shall have Spring again." The leaves will bud. They won't be held back. The bones of the trees will be covered again, covered with new life. As will you and I. As we already are, even if a Winter in our lives suggests to that emotional blanket we use as our counterfeit covering that we are threadbare. Those are feelings talking their persuasion to my divided mind. Speaking of cold doubt.
No, the trees know. They are rooted in facts that I can't experience--only trust in. Things unseen. They will once again drop seed and reproduce. They will bring forth new life without anxiety about the process. They will embrace other life again--neighbors in the form of animal life in their branches and in their shade. And I will see it from this wondow.
I will see the seasons change. I will see the new Spring burst forth. I will see it mature into a robust Summer, and I will see it gently age into that most golden and lovely and longingly beautiful of seasons, Autumn.
I am in the Summer of my life. There have been many times in my own Spring and Summer that have felt like Winters. But chronologically, this is Summer. The bold, flourishing years. A season of produce and powerful growth. That's the reality. Today is my Summer. Not on the calendar, of course, but I think you know what I mean.
There's a lot that's new in my life right now. More than just the house, but that too, definitely. There's much that sounds and looks like the things of Spring. I have been hanging for a long time it seems on the promise that years with far too much Winter in them will be restored--years that the locusts have eaten. When does the locust eat? They devour shoots and leaves--the life-filled greens of Summer. It is often the Summers of our lives that come under attack when we should be in full-production mode. If our enemy is real, then this only follows logic. A life in Summer may be too dangerous to be allowed to progress organically. Send on the pestilence, the fearfilled destroyer commands.
But God has promised restoration. I don't know what that looks like but I am living for it, and I am looking for it. I am waiting for it. I am hoping for it. I am expecting it.
Seasons will change. The view from my window will change. There's more to come. The story isn't over, and even though
"youths (in the Spring of their lives) shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint."
He promises renewal. Where does my help come from?
Oh, that view reminds me.
"I lift up my eyes to the hills.
My help comes from the Lord,
Maker of heaven and earth."
And Maker of me, and of seasons, Summers and Winters. Seedtimes and Harvests.
That's the view from here.