I love that there are 4 different seasons of the year. Just when I think I cannot take another 100 degree day and feel like I am melting every time I step outside, a cool autumn breeze will blow through with the promise of relief. Likewise, just as I feel like I cannot take another bleary, blah, dull day of clouds and lifelessness, I will see the promise of new life budding on our trees outside. God is so gentle with us. He knows that we need change, we need a fresh start. He knows that we, as well as the earth, need times of renewal, rest, and growth. Our Church has incorporated this lesson into our Church year as well. We just finished the seasons of Advent and Christmas and now will enter into Ordinary Time for a few weeks until we begin Lent. Again, it gives us opportunities each year to start fresh and to make changes where we need to in our lives. If we embrace the changes of the seasons, our lives will be enriched and we will be able to really appreciate the beauty and importance of each time, whether it be a season of joy, exhaustion, or pain.
My sweet, adorable, and loving 87 year old Nee Nee in entering a very painful season of her life right now as she suffers with Alzheimer's Disease. As I am witnessing first hand, this is a merciless disease. She gets lost in time. People and events in her life seem to blur as her past and present mingle in front of her. Then, she has great moments of coherence and is completely aware of all that is here and now. Watching her struggle is painful. I know it is even more so for my aunt and my father. She has never been one to complain and even now will say, "I am glad I can still get around. My mind is gone, but at least I can still get up and get my coffee." I think if she could, she would remind us to be thankful for what we have. Be thankful that I have had my grandmother as an important part of my life for all of these years. Be thankful that my children have known and spent time with their great-grandmother. Be thankful that my children are getting a lesson in loving and caring for their elders. Be thankful that we get the opportunity to serve her, just as she has tirelessly served her family, never asking for anything in return. Be thankful that we are getting to learn to love and serve Christ, and grow in patience and kindness as we love her in her frailty and her confusion. It is a hard season for her and also for those who love her. If we can try to embrace our cross, maybe God can grow something beautiful through it. When we suffer, we have the opportunity, through grace, to become less like ourselves and more like Christ. It doesn't take away the pain, the winter is still long, and cold, and quiet. But there is hope and the promise that the seasons will change.