It’s autumn now which, where I live, means that you can walk from your car to the coffee shop without beginning to perspire profusely (profusely being the operative word, here). You can order a hot latte instead of an iced, if you’d like (or not, if you don’t like) and you can wear a cardigan if you want (or not, if you don’t want) but you are probably still rocking your $2 Old Navy flip fops because REALLY, PEOPLE, IT’S NOT COLD ENOUGH FOR YOUR UGG BOOTS JUST YET, ADMIT IT.
The majority of a Floridian year (March to mid-October) is actually just “summer.” While the rest of the country is sipping hot cocoa and wrapping scarves around their necks, we’re still armpit-deep in a season which, solstices and equinoxes aside, never fails to arrive earlier than we want it to and always, always overstays its welcome. And so, when the relatively “cooler” temperatures finally do show up, they always provoke within me the contemplation of the year at hand, the one that’s steadily slipping away.
How is it fall already? I swear it was just yesterday I was clinking glasses of non-alcoholic champagne at midnight to protect the precious, not-yet-public life growing within me, cheering on the hopes and dreams surrounding the possibilities brought on by a brand new year. And now, with each falling leaf, another minute of 2012 simultaneously shrivels up and floats to the ground, only to be stomped on by an indifferent passerby.
Last Saturday, my group of friends gathered together in the morning as we do each month to eat breakfast and study the bible.
After we all settled down with our plates of donuts and pigs-in-blankets (I had roughly fifty of them… roughly) I quietly surveyed the room of my friends. It was filled with individuals — all unique, all special, all quirky and broken, yet undeniably lovable in our own ways — who have experienced enormous amounts of change throughout this seemingly endless summer:
- The discussion was prepared and led by a good friend who, at the beginning of the year, before summer swooped in and melted everything, moved to Birmingham to be with his fiancee. The first of our friends to take a huge leap of faith and dive into something alien and unknown, but with the full knowledge that God was behind him 100%.
- Several months later, in the dead heat of the Florida summer, we gave birth to a baby boy. A boy who, completely unbeknownst to him, would change our world (read: our community’s world, not just mine and Dan’s) for the better in ways we’ll probably never be able to accurately articulate. I can’t deny the fact that seeing that positive pregnancy test did send me into a minor panic attack at first, but once that subsided, I knew that God had a huge plan for us. And I was excited to embark on that journey with my husband and friends right beside me. (I was also excited for summer to be over because YOU TRY BEING 38 WEEKS PREGNANT IN FLORIDA IN JULY.)
- A few months later, mere weeks ago, two of our friends got engaged and set a date to be married in March, the usual start of “summer”.
- Another friend purchased her first house just a few weeks before Dax was born. As someone who has now gotten married AND had a baby, I have to say that I’d do those things a thousand times over before buying a home. At this point, homeownership scares the dickens out of me. I’m so proud of her.
- Another good friend continues to be healed of an autoimmune disease right before our eyes through prayer and obedience. Oh, and her husband is getting a puppy.
A whirlwind of change over the course of this year — mostly this summer. All in one, tiny, apartment living room.
As I write this, I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop, one whose walls are about 80% windows, and just on the other side of the glass, a man with a leaf blower is loudly clearing the sidewalks of all of the crunchy, brown, tell-tale examples of the season.
In a way, I feel like each of us is a dried up leaf, withered by the effects of the summer, by the steady passing of time over which we have no control, being violently pushed around by the gusts of change.
As if 2012, which came so quickly and is on its way out just as fast, wasn’t chock full of enough changes, there is already a handful of changes lined up for the coming year. New marriages. New locations. New jobs. New babies.
No matter how far away we end up, no matter how blown away we each become, no matter how stepped on or rained on we may get, no matter how different things end up, there is one truth to cling to: we have all fallen from the same tree.
And that won’t ever change.