The seasons always surprise me.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

photo by my lovely friend Janet Jacob
It snowed on Friday.

As much as I love living in the West, my internal clock has not adjusted to its seasons. I'm surprised by them every time. I spent the first half of my life in the South, where March promised blooming trees and t-shirts. But March here means two more months of muddy slush and sudden snow. Septembers in the South are, truthfully, awful - muggy and warm until the very end, leading everyone to grumble about the summer that just won't die. Not so here, of course. I knew it wouldn't stay hot for long. After Labor Day I took stock of our coats, but I assumed I had several weeks to replace shoes and gloves. It's only early September, right?

Friday morning I pulled up to the school just as snow scattered from the sky. It melted as it landed of course, but it was snowing just the same. I looked around the van. I was wearing a hoodie and sandals. One of my boys had on warm shoes, but the other had soccer socks under summer canvas. At least they wore raincoats and jeans. They would be okay.

Outside I saw I was not the only one surprised by the snow. Several parents left their cars wearing flip flops, and a few kids had on shorts. We all knew it could snow in September, but none of us expected it to happen today.

It's true in my internal life as well. My emotions surprise me every time. I stood in a gift shop with out-of-town friends last week and felt anxiety wash in like the tide. I argued with my body. "What is this? I'm just looking at painted horses and turquoise earrings. Everyone is safe, I know exactly where they are. Why would I possibly panic right now?" Then I took a deep breath, and ignored it. I browsed and joked with my friends and let the tide roll right back where it belonged.

We almost made it to the top - best hike with kids yet!
But the thing about September is, it does not snow every day. That cold, gray Friday rolled into the most perfectly crisp Saturday you can imagine. We drove through the canyon roads until we found an interesting trailhead, then decided on a whim to go for a hike. You never know if your kids are going to be as excited about outdoor adventure as you are, but yesterday they were in sync with us, climbing, playing, and not whining until the very end. We reveled in it all - the cool sunshine, the surprisingly cooperative kids, the beautiful path on the side of the road.

As I took in our gorgeous Saturday, I realized something important. So I can't predict the seasons. So what.

We all want order in our lives. We all want to know what's happening next. We crave external predictability, and we impose our own rules - I only drink coffee in the mornings, I don't exercise on Thursdays. We are hard-wired for symmetry, created in the image of the God orchestrated the very rhythms of life and the universe.

What do we do with the things we cannot predict or control? The unexpected long illness, the car accident, the tide of panic that makes no sense? How do we live in a world where we can no longer assume we know how the next day will look? A place where all of the former rules no longer apply?

We wait it out, friends. We stand in the moment and we wait. We wait, knowing the gray fog will not last forever. Because the seasons may be unfamiliar to us, but it will not snow every day.

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