For the love of Fall

'Cute Kids in Children's Costumes' photo (c) 2009, epSos .de - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

*If my friends and I were these kids, I’d be the one with the bow.

I realize it’s October.  It’s not lost on me that Halloween is next week.  Tonight even, my friends decided that the four of us needed to dress up and go out to dinner as characters from popular kids’ books this year. Nickie said she’d cover herself in body glitter and call herself a vampire.  Beth said she’d wear her graduation robes, a striped tie, and call herself a student of Hogwarts.  They said our friend Melissa could wear a flowing dress, strap on some pointed ears, and say she’s from Middle Earth.  And they said I could carry our friend’s hunting bow, put my hair in a braid, and be Katniss.  Lucky me.  I don’t really do the dress-up thing so we’ll see if it happens, but I appreciate that they know me well enough to give me the bow and not the pointy ears.

So, yes, it’s October and it’s Halloween time, and the air outside is finally cold enough that you can see your breath at night.  Beer and coffee come flavored like pumpkin, and my clogs have become my everyday footwear.  Everything’s popping with yellows and oranges and reds, and the leaves that fall crunch when you step on them.   This is, hands down, my favorite time of year.

And I’ll be honest, I’m especially happy to see it come this year.  And I’m making every stride to soak in the season for as long as I can, before Fall gives way to Winter and falling leaves give way to falling snow.

I didn’t have the greatest summer, and I think anyone who’s walked any kind of close to me this year would echo that.  My friend’s mom said it best when she said that I seemed distracted all summer.  She said it was like I wasn’t necessarily in a bad place, but that I was always someplace other than where I was.

And when she said that, it was as if she gave words to what I couldn’t say for the last couple of months.  Because I was always someplace other than where I was, because I was always in my own head, always sorting through something, always trying to surrender some part of what I was thinking and feeling to prayer.   Because there was a lot for me to think and feel my way through this summer – like, the ending of things with the nice boy; like, the hard conversation with the BFF that had us on different pages for most the summer; like, the ending of the youth leading part of my life when all my girls left for colleges across the East Coast; like, the continued unemployment; like, the turning 30 and still living with my parents; like, the starting at another new church; or, you know, things like that.

So, I’m convinced that for me this Fall is really about things falling away.  It’s about not feeling any kind of bad feelings about loving someone who wasn’t ready to love me in return. It’s about remembering that hard conversations birth real friendships, and having a real friendship with someone who really believes in you is always going to be worth the fight. It’s about embracing a new kind of relationship with these women now in college, that’s less about leading and more about walking alongside.  It’s about enjoying my parents and the closeness that comes with sharing meals and with sharing a bathroom, as much as I hate the shaving ick my dad leaves in the sink every day.  It’s about believing and hoping and praying that the God who began a good work in my career will finish it through to completion, even if every hiring manager these days seems to think I’m overqualified for every job on the planet in the history of forever.

But mostly, this Fall is about a new season in so many ways. And I’m waking up every day making my very best attempts to pay attention to what it has to offer – like, conversations at dinner tables with hands wrapped around mugs of hot tea; like, pumpkin spice lattes and Pumpkin Harvest Blue Moon ales; like, afternoons spent at apple orchards and pumpkin patches; like, walks through town bundled in hoodies and thick socks; like…dressing up with three of my favorite girlfriends to go out to dinner on Halloween?

Hand me my bow and call me Katniss!

…or maybe not that last one. I’ll let you know next week.

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