For every season of endlessly similar Thursdays after Wednesdays after Tuesdays, there’s an end. Nothing lasts forever; Solomon said. That which seems to never end is only my own fear suffocating me.
Can you picture snow drifts to the deck railing? I can, but it’s hard when I’m eating watermelon to recall how bleak, how hungry for community I felt. How hungry, how disconnected.
Sometimes the end of one season pushes us fast into new seasons of Mondays that melt into Fridays before I’ve had a second to read yesterday’s newspaper or pick up the groceries. I’m in one of those seasons, when the abundance is very tangible and looks like strawberries in a sunny patch, gathered and sugared up for batches of jam. It looks like too much fresh produce as we gorge ourselves on the fruit of the plants that not too long ago sat under feet of snow and ice. Feet. Feet. It looks like boxes filled with plans on a paper calendar. Always a paper calendar to flip backwards — to see empty months beforehand. And to flip forward, to see the return of empty boxes.
As I knelt in the berry patch Saturday, I remembered ice is still on Lake Superior. That winter happened. As I put a tray of extra berries in the deep freeze in a bag marked “do not use til February,” I was recalling how meager and insufficient our bananas and applesauce were earlier this year, and how it’ll all return again.
My busy days will revert to school days August 18, and another season will pass. But what did that one teach me about this one? What is this one doing to me to prepare me for the next one?
That one taught me what I’m reading now in “Experiencing God,” a subtly challenging workbook with a Hollywood Moses on the cover: apart from my vine, I’m useless.
That season showed me that though I’m an introvert, or reflective, or need space to wrap my mind around something, I’m not well when I’m alone for too long. That I thrive when I’m in community; that I can’t shovel a country driveway. That the voices of saints and monastics and home educators often land on the same points: know God; simple is abundant; go slow, pray. Move when He asks. That’s really it. It’s amazing how hard I can make that on any of those empty Tuesdays, though.
This season: this one’s moving me toward the relationships I’ve been praying for. It’s putting me into situations where I’m useful, or something better than useful. It’s giving my kids space and free time before school starts, and giving us space to recuperate from that two-job debacle. Me, time home. Him, time with us. Time to dream again.
I think it’s more than berries I’m supposed to be gathering now — I’m trusting everything that’s coming up this season can have a second moment of abundance, like frozen strawberries will next winter. I’ll take what I need from these summer birds, fresh tastes, park dates and new work; this is abundance, and I don’t want to forget this shade of green, the squeak of a hummingbird, days in a row with people to meet, Charlotte Mason devotees meeting at a park, bike rides, sticky doorknobs from making strawberry jam with a toddler — any of it.
Because we’re given what we need when we need it, and though I’m free to say “I’ve had enough; no more,” I’ve been hungry too long. The berries are so sweet.
Thank you, God, for seasons, and the rhythm of a Midwestern year, and community to share that with. You give and take away, and this has been a season full of giving.