Fuchsia Blossoms and Bidding Farewell

There are two crepe myrtle trees along the walkway leading from our basement door up to the driveway. In the last few days, they have both begun to erupt in color, bearing those rich fuchsia blossoms so fragrant and lovely. Hardly a day goes past that I don’t stop on my way to or from the driveway, pausing to bury my face in a blossom and smell the aroma that takes me back to my childhood.

When I was a little girl, growing up in a suburban Raleigh neighborhood, we had a line of crepe myrtle trees bordering our property, awash in fuchsia blossoms each July. I know several (if not most) of the trees were actually on our neighbor’s land, but our dear little old neighbor lady didn’t mind a bit. So my sister and my friends and I climbed the trees, standing in imaginary castles, swinging down on branches, and surveying our luxurious “estate” from the  grand prospect of three feet off the ground. Those are sweet memories.

Now, as the crepe myrtle trees blossom here by the walkway, the last days of July are upon us. A dear friend wrote to me this morning of how she found myriads of spider webs on her back deck, hearkening, in a tiny way, the beginning of the end of this season of summer. So too we have had the beginning of the end of our time here in Virginia. These last few weeks have been what I might call a “Parade of Last Things.” We have had a last church fellowship, a last time in the home of friends. Soon we will be teaching our last music lessons, my dear husband will have his last day of work, and we will have our last Sunday in church here.

This whole saying-goodbye business is hard. My dear mother and I have often adopted what we affectionately call the “ripping off the Band-Aid” method. Rather than prolong the goodbye, we take a few dear, sweet last moments together and then part quickly, aching for the farewell but glad to have finished it. Presently, however, I do not have that luxury. This farewell is stretched over weeks and between homes, here, there, and everywhere. It comes, over and over each day, bringing its own terrible ache even as we look beyond the goodbye to the days ahead. Naturally, it takes weeks (or even months) to leave one season and enter the next. All the same, and especially with these last few breathtaking sunsets over the mountains, my heart still aches. We are in the already-but-not-yet, no longer fully at home here, but still not sundered.

But God is faithful, always and ever.

So I stop and smell those fuchsia blossoms, remembering the dear days of girlhood and looking forward to the days to come, when we shall still live as pilgrims, already and not-yet-fully basking in God’s goodness.

In Which We Have Monday.

I have declared a one-hour moratorium on putting anything in the dirty laundry basket. For the first time in weeks (months?), the laundry baskets are actually empty. (This was largely due to my laissez-faire act of throwing the handwash-only items into the washer at the last minute.  A crocheted bib and washcloth in the washer isn’t the end of the world, I reasoned.) And so the hand towel that probably needs a wash is still hanging in the bathroom, because I need this kind of small triumph today.

After a busy and pleasant weekend, it is Monday. The day started off relatively well, as Daisy obligingly slept in so that I could get a bit of extra rest. (Why am I waking up with a sore throat? I just got over a sinus infection!) My dear husband got off to work, I got a bite of breakfast, and then Daisy and I settled into a quiet day at home of cleaning, organizing, and continuing to catch up.

Then the little frustrations started creeping in. Poopy diaper before I had even gotten her dressed? Into the bathtub Daisy went. We started a laundry load and straightened a few piles, then she went down for a nap. When I went to check my inbox, there were two more complicated emails on the Scylla-and-Charybdis matter of moving out of one place into another. A shower, finally, and an email sent… already, the morning flew by as on wings.

When Daisy got up, a large wet spot revealed a cloth diaper leak on the fresh clothes.  Sigh.  Another feeding, another load of laundry, and her room was finally looking better. We got the bathroom spruced up, only to face the mess in the rest of the house. Would it ever get cleaned up?  Lunch, thankfully, was full of protein, and a contented Daisy talked to herself in her bouncer so that I could sit down and catch my breath.

It was as if my Heavenly Father was using the voice so often heard from the parent of a little child: Stop. Listen to me. You can’t do this! You NEED me. As I wrote to a friend this morning, I see more and more sin in myself, and more and more grace in Him. What an abundant fountain to quench my thirst!

My hopes for the day had been to blog about the continued struggle for joy and peace in this transition to a new season. I find, though, that today is enough. I must train my eyes on the here and now, waiting for the time, energy, and grace to face the coming days. For now, we have Monday.

What about you? What encourages you on a tough day?

Winds of Change

We pulled into the driveway at 8:30 pm on Saturday evening. With seat belt unbuckled, my hand poised on the car door handle, I was ready to leap out and rescue the disconsolate Daisy from her long imprisonment in the car seat. We were home at last. After three straight weeks of family visiting and visiting family, it was finally back to normal, the three of us in our little home by the alpacas and the mountains.

Those three weeks were sweet. My mother and sister sojourned in our home, delighting in Daisy, savoring fellowship, and serving and blessing us tremendously. Then, as we traveled back to North Carolina, Little Daisy met great-grandparents, our own parents loved on us and blessed us, and we treasured time with siblings, friends, and extended family. It was a dear time back in our childhood homeland.

Home at last.

Home at last.

Now, though, it is Monday. After a Lord’s Day of worship and resting, we are thoroughly entrenched back in daily life. Construction has begun upstairs in our landlord’s home on a refurbished bathroom, so our morning was full of hammering and other noises. Laundry is everywhere, clean and otherwise, and the geometry lesson for tomorrow must be planned.

Even as the travels were sweet, the coming home was bittersweet. This was our last return to the hills of Virginia. In a matter of weeks, we will pack up our home and move to the big City, where it will be a season of making a new home and building new friendships. Now, our talk is of new renters (and when they’ll move in) and new landlords (and when they’ll move out). We hope and pray and plan for the transition even as we savor these present days. It is a time of “in between-ness” — living in the now while we actively prepare for the future. We wait in faith, girding ourselves for the forthcoming challenges.

And so the proverbial winds of change are blowing. As I write this, a cup of tea brings solace. God’s faithfulness is unchanging. Onward I press…