Thursday, February 23, 2012

Seasons


 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

I am standing at one of my favorite points of view in the whole world.  The snowflakes are flying and the cold winter breeze cuts through me like a knife.  I wear no coat, so the wintry draft makes me shiver.  But as cold as I am, I can’t be convinced to go back inside.  I want to cherish this moment.  I want to drink it in and live it…fully.

The snow is starting to stick…just a bit.  I am hoping it will completely cover the ground. 

Off in the distance, I hear happy voices and laughter.  These two boys…born exactly six-months-to-the-day apart…weighing the same exact amount at birth.  As different as daylight and dark, but as close in heart as brothers, and the very best of friends.  Austin is six months younger than Zach, but he has already passed him in height and weight.  They are both growing…way…too….fast.  

I notice the snow is sticking…accumulating fast.  Soon, it covers the whole front yard and the mountain and valley across the road.  Soon, they come from the back yard to explore it and take delight in its beauty.

As I watch them playing, rolling around in the freshly-fallen snow, it occurs to me that they’re growing as fast as this snow will inevitably melt on the next sunny day.  Right now, they’re two little boys.  Carefree, with two Mamas and two Daddies who dearly love them….and who are still in love with each other.  How blessed they are – these two boys!  How blessed we are to have them!

I’m glad we’re here.  I’m glad it is still snowing.  I’m thankful the boys are still little.  I’m glad their two young, innocent lives are clean and untarnished like the beautiful, soft, white blanket that now completely covers the front yard.  And as no one has yet walked on its bright, shining pureness, the slate of each of these two boys is clean….purely unencumbered and free.  How it fills me to watch them…to listen to them…to be a part of this.

I’m thankful for the four seasons.  Each has a beauty all its own. 

I’m grateful for each of the seasons of life…always interesting, ever-changing, offering its own challenges, happiness, and beauty.

I compare the youth, vibrancy, and vitality of the boys frolicking in the snow to the season of my father-in-law who sits behind me in the house….his walker close by in case he needs to stand.  He’s failing.  Each time I see him, I see it. 

We talked last night…he and I.  He said he’s lived a good life, and he has no regrets. 

“Really?” I ask. 

“Oh, there are some things I would have done different if I could go back.  But I have no regrets.”  He tells me that if he dies tomorrow, life’s been good.  “And the only thing really holding me here is this….” he points to the frail, little woman whose head rests in his lap.

She’s tired.  It’s been a long, full day, and she has spent it like all of the others.  Serving, giving of herself, meeting his and everyone else’s needs.  Neglecting her own.  Ignoring the pain that continually wracks her fragile, little body.  She’s lost more weight.  No one can explain it.  I think it is simply because she hardly eats anymore.

For over 52 years they have lived together…these two precious souls who took me into the arms of this wonderful family almost 24 years ago.  Before that, really.  For ever since I met them when Kevin and I were dating, they have welcomed me with open, loving arms….choosing to call me “daughter” and leave off the “in-law” with all of its off-putting undertones.

For 52 years they have loved each other.  They’ve weathered life’s storms.  They’ve seen a lot of snow fall, and then watched it melt off the scene.  I love hearing their stories.  Has it always been easy?  They’ll be quick to tell you no.  “We’ve had our disagreements” Dad is saying to me, as she sleeps softly beside him.  “Just like everyone else.”  But he assures me it’s been a good life. 

Winter’s chill has crept in to their lives just as sure as the cold wind is chilling me standing on the porch, watching, listening, and soaking in the two boys playing in front of me. 

I agree with Dad Smith.  Life has been good.

Life is good.

Right now, at this moment, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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