Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Announcement

Somehow it seems appropriate. There is a crispness in the evening air. The slightest whisper of color has already begun to softly kiss the leaves of the Bradford pears. The Dogwoods will follow, then the hills will come alive with the firey oranges and reds, yellows and golds of autumn in full-spectrum. The view will be spectacular, breathtaking, awe-inspiring. Perhaps this is God's apology for ending summer all too quickly. I rather believe, though, that it is yet one more example of His magnificent grace that eases us into another season, one that has the potential to be too harsh to bear were it not for some joie de vivre in the transition.

To many, autumn is a time of ending. Ending summer, warm days, carefree lifestyles, vacations. One might miss the glory of autumn altogether and only dread the coming of winter, when life seems to stand still and frozen. I have likened my own life these last few weeks and months to such a time of ending as I have wrestled with this thing called "empty nest syndrome." How suitable it seems that my youngest child would go off to college at this time of year, when leaves begin to fall and the earth appears to die. It is, indeed, the end of a season of my own life, and just as the falling leaves and cooler air declare a change has come, so do the remnants of boyhood my son has left behind: a nearly-empty bedroom with only a few posters still clinging to the walls, a basket of worn-out clothing in the corner, and a paintball gun perched upon the corner of his desk. Poignant reminders of a vibrant youth who has embarked upon his manhood.

For days, weeks on end I've only dreaded the winter and almost missed the autumn entirely. I've not trusted God to make the transition for me, just as he transitions the seasons of nature in such splendor and magnitude. Already, even before the departure of my son, the transition was underway. Some months ago, through a series of circumstances none of us predicted, my brother and his wife came to stay with us, along with their two-year-old daughter, my niece Anna. Our home was suddenly overflowing with giggles and tea cups; away with you, you fear of lonliness; no time to lament some future grief.

My son has adjusted well to his new life away at school, and he makes me proud. Autumn is not an ending for us, either--only a change, and no doubt we'll both have many adjustments to make in the transition. He'll have new responsibilities, new friends, new opportunities; I might use his room for a workout room! He'll come home at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we'll have loads of stories to tell each other. There will be fervor in the transition.

And lest I plunge into dread of winter all over again, I need only look to the God of the Universe whose timing is perfect and whose love is immeasureable. For just as a small child finds delight in gleefully dancing through piles of damp colored leaves, I find it hilarioulsy wonderful that my eldest son and daughter-in-law have decided to move back to this area from North Carolina. We had dinner with them this evening and they presented me with a small gift. How delightful! Knowing I have a passion for Ebay, they gave me the largest "Ebay for Dummies" book I have even seen, but as my son pointed out, it was only a cover, for there was another tell-tale gift wrapped in tissue inside the bag. I gingerly unwrapped the packaging to find a small rectangular teddy bear photo frame in lovely pastel colors playfully announcing, "Grandma and Grandpa's Little Angel."

So as autumn is a transitional time of year, this is a transitional season of my life. God has sent me children and grandchildren, not to take the place of my own two cherished sons, but to fill the void that their having grown up and created adult lives of their own has left behind. And just as the seasons are perpetual, winter will give us pause, and spring will come again. In it I will see trees and flowers bloom, hear birds sing, and hold my first grandchild for the very first time. Aaron will come home from college for the summer and we will all go on as God intended.

Have a blessed day.


Junosmom said...

Firstly, congratulations! I had hoped that the news would be that.

Secondly, you are such a gifted writer. Have you considered publishing?

How wonder for you all!

George said...

Robin, You left me wondering as you said you had an announcement, as I read your beautiful prose I just knew someone was expecting, could it be Robin? I doubt it, Sharon? I am delighted and Happy for David & Amber and a new bright spot in your life. Uncle George