It’s around this time every year that I start to get impatient for autumn. Fall is my absolute favorite season of the year, and by the time the latter days of August roll around I always find myself craving the crunch of leaves underfoot, crisp morning walks in jeans and a light jacket, the slow creep of darkness earlier and earlier into the day. I remember as a kid dressing for the first day of school in my brand-new outfit, which was invariably something woolen and long-sleeved, something “fall.” There was many a September day when I left school sweating and itchy because, even though I was ready for fall, the weather was still the sticky late summer of the Delaware Valley. But every year I would don that new fall outfit in the futile hope that once the calendar flipped to September, autumn would come, and that right soon.
I’m finding myself experiencing that yearning again this year, although this year I’m also finding myself wanting to resist the urge to simply rush ahead to the next season. I’ve been doing a lot of rushing already these days. You know the thoughts – “Once we can open up again,” “Once we have a vaccine,” “Once things go back to normal.” The upheaval of our lives these past months has understandably made us increasingly impatient with where we find ourselves. Add to that anxieties about job security, our health and the health of our loved ones, and the future of our nation, and it’s no wonder we’re all wanting to rush ahead to better, clearer, sweeter, cooler days.
But the truth is, of course, that if we spend our days just waiting for what’s coming, we’re missing out on the life we’re living right now. There is no way to live in the future; we can only live in this moment, this breath, this heartbeat. But it is in this moment, this breath, this heartbeat that we find the presence of the God who loves us.
So in these last days of summer, stay where you are. If you’re staying home, if you’re back at work, if you’re looking for a job, if you’re waiting, if you’re worried, if you’re frustrated, if you’re angry – just stay where you are. Don’t rush ahead to the fix that you think might be coming around the corner. For wherever you are, Christ is there, offering you whatever healing balm you need. Rushing ahead won’t help you to find the strength and solace you’re looking for, but staying where you are just might. Because staying where you are means staying where Christ is, who is with you, always, even to the end of the age.
Yours in Christ,