SEPTEMBER MORNING

By Lisa Huddleston

September brings glorious, chilly mornings, the hint of color to come and already present in the trees, full fields ready to harvest, and the promise of change. Either a promise or a threat. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I know change is coming.

Before I couldn’t wait for change. I measured my age in half years, and anxiously anticipated every change in my own children: eating solid food, walking, potty training, learning to read, getting their driver’s licenses, going to college, getting married … each step leading them further away. But there was joy in the change.

Now change feels like fear. We have lost half our parents. The other half ages before our eyes. And I watch their faces, my mirror, and the news with anxious eyes and ears, and I want to stop the clock. Crazy men with bombs speak of fire and fury with threats that could kill us all, could stop the comforting change of the seasons that have always before promised to return. This harvest could be the last. Could always have been I suppose, and I am forced to chuckle at my dire response to beauty.

So on this early morning, I sit alone on my screened-in porch, breathing under heavy blankets and reading the morning words. God sees and knows and speaks: “The Most High God rules the kingdoms of the world and appoints anyone he desires to rule over them” (Daniel 5:21). And I breathe and know what he says is true, before and now and still to come. And I hope to be caught up in the harvest. To be judged as fruit and not as chaff. To abide in him and with him through seasons, and changing times, and end of time.

And September mornings are glorious still.

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DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?

By Lisa Huddleston

11710000_10207014882917226_657832549666094067_oI love living on a Century Farm here in Middle Tennessee. It is green and private and lovely, but there are occasional drawbacks. It’s hard to find a good restaurant that’s worth paying for anywhere nearby, it’s a very long drive on the Interstate to many of the events we choose to attend—including our church—but one of the worst things about living here happens when the young man who owns the cattle who share this farm with us takes away the older calves to sell.

The mommas are just pitiful. They holler all day and all night—and I can only imagine how bad the calves feel. Separation from those we love really sucks, kind of like a calf on an udder or an udder that misses its calf.

Anyway, today there was a big, black cow looking directly at me over the back fence while I drank my morning coffee on the porch. She bawled and looked. Bawled and looked. I really felt guilty as though she thought I knew where her baby was and if she just asked nicely enough I would return it. To make matters even worse, old Dottie Pigbody had to get into the act by ferociously barking at the grieving mother and running her off.

No, I don’t make a good farmer, and, yes, I cried. And that experience set my mind off and running down a sad trail.

11227401_10207349081111972_7173172355244987238_oNext, I saw the bright, red cardinal who daily frequents our bird feeders—most often with his less colorful mate. I imagined one saying to the other, “Where would you like to have brunch today?” and then flying in to light on the chosen feeder. I told Chuck that it makes me sad to see birds who are always with mates because I worry that something will happen to one of them and then the other will grieve. He laughed and said, “Well, let’s just shoot both of them now then and get it over with.”

Of course, my tender-hearted husband was just kidding, but part of me agreed with that plan. Wouldn’t it be better to take them out together? I sure don’t want to hang around if Chuck goes before me.

And that is part of my problem. (“Aha,” you say. “We definitely knew you had one!”) I see everything through a filter of impending death and separation. Sad but true. The beauty of spring inevitably leads to winter. The puppy you fall in love with turns gray before you turn around. The kids you plan and hope for grow up and move out. People leave and seasons end and everything eventually fades.

My therapist laughs when I tell her that I know I’m the one with depression, but I really think it’s everyone else who is suffering from delusions. My preoccupation with death is only realistic thinking. If you’re living, you’re dying, and vice versa.

11887989_10207341387999649_4245004405750835629_nSome days this truth helps me to appreciate the value found in moments. Beauty in a golden leaf hanging suspended on the breeze for seconds before gently floating to the ground. White clouds in blue skies. Calves skipping and playfully butting heads. Unexpected fish fries that bring the kids home. Countless millions of things for which I am truly thankful, but which also carry with them the knowledge that too soon they will be over.

No pretty bow or cherry on top of this post. Just my observations.

I see you, sad Momma Cow, as you look to me for answers, and my heart goes out to you because I have none. Hopefully new babies will be born to you soon, and I pray that you will not see what’s coming.

DOG DAYS

Hazy, hot, and humid week at THE Wilson County Fair.

The 2014 Wilson County Fair.

By Lisa Huddleston

1. Hazy, hot, and humid are the three most commonly used words.

2. THE County Fair ends this weekend.

3. We only need to mow the yard every other week.

4. The trees look tired of holding up dry, so-over-the-green leaves.

5. Visions of pumpkins, sweaters, and bonfires dance in our heads.

6. The public pool closes in one week.

7. The kids are already back in school. (Poor kids, poor teachers!)

8. Most of the flowers look just plain sad.

9. Cracker Barrel already has Christmas decorations on display.

10. Even the dog wants to stay inside in the air conditioning.

Making the best of dog days.

Making the best of dog days.

How do we get through the ennui? Find reasons to laugh, take it one moment at a time, and know that soon and very soon it will be autumn.

I’m thankful for the promise found in the changing seasons, for the beauty that is to come, and for the sound of the lawn mower that my son is riding to cut the grass one more time. 

Baruch HaShem!

 

ANOTHER SPRING

imagesBy Lisa Huddleston

It rained this whole long Sunday, and my husband built one of the last fires of this season while the dog and I curled up and dreamed one more time at the foot of our blue and orange altar. Only four more days and the official first day of spring will arrive. Tight-fisted buds with green tips, my first-born’s birthday celebration, and the first tick of the year found tightly affixed to the inside of the dog’s back leg have already come. And soon and very soon, we are going to see the spring.

And I am glad to know that the change is coming–as I always am. But this year I am less sure as to how it should be received. The young will rejoice with pastel and seersucker and bonnets and eggy baskets of pink and blue crunchy sugar. The old will smile and feed the excitement by hiding treasures in the tall grass and behind the roots of old trees, enabling the myths and stoking the fires of faith.

And apart from it all, not young and not quite yet old, I will watch and pinch a smile and wonder at my role to play.

“You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don’t tell me you can’t tell a change in the season, the God-season we’re in right now” (Luke 12:56).

CHANGING SEASONS

Celebrating September!

Celebrating September!

By Lisa Huddleston

It’s September 1st! Can you believe it? I’ve always heard that time flies faster and faster the older you get, and I’m started to get that firsthand. But today I’m really not minding it so much. I am one of those people who always look forward to the season to come, and the season to come just happens to be one of my favorites–fall. The only other season I like as much is whatever one is the next to come. I guess I like the promise that change holds, the opportunity to improve what is, the hope for a better day.

I’ve heard some people bemoaning the loss of summer (although it really doesn’t end until September 21st.) They are already looking at the approaching winter with dread and skipping right over the gorgeous melancholy of autumn with a giant leap. I cannot relate. There are riches to each season. The gaudy glory of spring, the warm glow of summer, the cooling breeze of fall, and the coziness of winter. I love them each in turn.

Interestingly, as I’ve pondered this topic today and naturally applied its metaphorical significance to my life, I happened upon a Facebook post by an older friend celebrating the 21st anniversary of his retirement. He listed an amazingly long litany of fabulous accomplishments since retiring. He has written books, served as interim leader of both companies and churches, traveled to several countries, built a cabin on a hill, and enjoyed his family well. His post reminds me that even in the metaphorical seasons, there is something to be looked forward to in each. I was encouraged by his joy and enthusiasm and glad to see that there is always something better to look forward to.

So today I am celebrating the arrival of September. Welcome old, new friend. I can’t wait to wrap myself in a cozy sweater and see what you have to offer!