The leaves are (already) starting to fall, the morning dew is cool on my feet, and my office is strangely quiet.
Summer is over.
My life cycle seems to flow not from January to January, not year to year, but from summer to summer. The summers mark seasons of my life, and each stands out. The summer names the year.
The summer we got married- Bride Summer.
The summer I spent figuring out how to do this marriage thing and learning what I'd gotten myself into- Wife Summer.
Then there was Waiting Summer- restless and unsettled as we waited for... anything.
House Summer was unexpected, exciting, and full of scraping glue. Lots of scraping glue.
That brings us to this summer. The past four summers have been easy to define- either just as September rolls around, or their definitions unfold by the time snow flies.
But this summer.
This summer is harder to name.
I had big plans for this year, see. I had plans for a garden and early morning coffee in my little yellow kitchen. We spent this summer living away from our jobs at Camp - our first summer since being married that we've not lived at work. It was going to be different.
And in some ways, this summer was very different.
I spent more time outside, to be sure. Between walking the dog and weed whipping around buildings, home ownership required more outdoor oomph than was needed while we lived at Camp.
Our commute every day provided time to clear the slate after a long day, so work wasn't the only topic of our evenings. That bit of separation, of privacy, of space- it made a difference.
But when the middle of June rolled around, I wondered if it was enough of a difference.
Something wasn't fitting, not the way I remembered it in summers past. And God started putting things in my way- little broken shards of emotional pottery found their way into my nest. And I stubbornly, resolutely, kept on building. Finally (finally), we had to let go.
And now names for this summer roll through my mind- Decision Summer. Leaving Summer. Going Summer. Change Summer.
None of them seem to fit, although I'm sure I'll look back soon and be able to define this year as I've done all the others.
No matter the name, this summer has made me realize, yet again, that life is surprising. That it's unexpected.
My plans look so different than my reality. Again.
You'd think that I would have figured it out by now- that my plans will be changed, that my ideas will be challenged, that my life will get turned around again and again. But I'm still learning that lesson.
In November, we'll be leaving and doing something crazy. The Iowa farmland will give way to Colorado mountains, and our desks will be filled by new people who will fall in love with Camp as we have, and our lives will be so, so different.
And then even that new life won't be solid or stationary- because when the snow melts, we'll leave the mountains to come back to the farmland.
And to be honest, I'm a little scared.
I'm afraid of the unknown, and there is so much unknown.
I'm afraid of leaving all these friends and this awesome church, and meeting new (scary) people.
I'm afraid that living six months mountains and six months prairies will rip me apart.
I'm afraid of what will happen to my marriage when we don't work together- for the first time in three and a half years, I won't go to work every morning with my husband... and I don't know how that will change us.
I'm afraid of failing and having nowhere soft to land.
I'm afraid that leaving my job will tear out little fleshy chunks of my heart and I'll never truly heal.
I'm afraid of who I'll be without my yellow kitchen and my job title and my friends.
Stepping out into murky waters is frightening.
I have power, power that doesn't come from me, and it turns all the things I'm afraid of into things I'm excited about.
Because I know my God is here in Iowa and I know He's going before me into Colorado. Because I have seen Him work incredibly before. Because I know that no matter how speckled the blessing looks to me, He's got big plans that I don't understand.
The adventure continues.
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