To everything / There is a season / And a time to every purpose under heaven
Most people think of the seasons in terms of the calendar year: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. But going to school for 24+ years of my life, followed by five years of working in higher education, I tend to think of the seasons like this: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer.
In fall, when most things are dying, instead of feeling sad that summer is over, I feel the way most people feel in springtime: renewed, inspired, motivated. Lit on fire like the burning oranges and reds that surround me on the trees and crunching under my feet. Ready to tuck away the ups and downs of the year so far, to build on something new.
But this year, I’ve lost track of seasons all together. Instead of the weather, my rhythms are shaped by waiting. If you asked me how I’m doing, I’d respond that all I know is I’m sweaty all the time and our social worker probably hasn’t emailed us back.
A few weeks back, I was on a trip to Target (where else?) and walked in to find all of the patio furniture replaced with…back to school. It took me completely by surprise. As I took in all the Crayola-yellow packaging and contemplated what eight grader needs a chandelier in their locker, I felt like I had woken up from a long, restless night of sleep.
This too-early changing of the seasons, this eschewing of the 90 degree heat and holding out hope for a fall breeze feels oddly right. It lines up with how I feel inside, that something new is coming. We are submitting our home study for multiple children a week now, and any day we could wake up to an email that we’re headed to a match meeting with a social worker we’ve never met. That child or children might be the new member of our family, or they might not. We are learning how to be prepared for anything while staying fully present in the current moment.
We don’t know who will be showing up on our doorstep or when they will arrive, but we know that soon, life as we know it will change irrevocably. Anticipation, excitement, nerves, and hitting “refresh” on our inbox one too many times. It is a delicate balance but a unique and special one.
We don’t need the weather report to tell us that our current season of life is characterized by this uncertainty, so there’s not much else to do but to embrace it.
Turn, turn, turn.