I am learning–very slowly–that life comes in seasons. My life of late revolves very clearly around pregnancy: first there is the sick time, in which housework is breezy but eating and cooking are real challenges; then there is the happy middle time that I never take advantage of as much as I should; then there’s the bone-deep tiredness and ambivalent happiness and vague excitement that makes up the last four months or so of pregnancy. I never remember how tiring that stage is, either (she says from the depths of it). Then there’s new baby time, with a sudden rush of energy amidst sleepless nights and wondering how it’s possible that I have more energy than in pregnancy even though I’m getting much more disturbed sleep. And lastly, there’s the early-nursing stage, with all its physical challenges and recuperating from labor.
Then, if you’re me the past two times, the cycle repeats itself instantly.
I’m finally beginning to understand that I need to plan for the changes and live each of these little “seasons” to the fullest. Of course, there are bigger seasons, too; I’m beginning to be old enough to grasp the idea that there was a person I was ten years ago who is not at all the same person I am today, and that ten years from now, I will undoubtedly again be a very different person. Or dead, let’s not forget that possibility. I remember my fifth grade Sunday school teacher saying that none of us students could possibly understand the concept of a decade, and I’m beginning to see the truth in that–and I’m beginning to understand what a decade means, as I come ever nearer to my third.
I’ve also been noticing that suddenly there are stores at which I should not shop, because I’m too old, and that a freaky day of purple hair now would be just silliness. I have a little family. I’ve spent more time in the past ten years married than I have single. I look at our wedding pictures and am struck by how very, very young I look. I didn’t realize I’d acquired that many wrinkles in the years since, but I have. I’m aging, and sometime close to this age is when things officially stop going uphill and start the long, long trek downwards until one day you’re so old and falling apart that you really can’t wait to go home. I’m finally seeing myself on that journey and not just at the beginning of it.
All this to say, there are little seasons and there are big seasons. There’s morning sickness and there’s mid-life crises. I’m beginning to see that there is real value in seeing those seasons with accuracy and forethought (maybe especially the little seasons–planning for morning sickness is always a good thing) and drinking them all to the last drop. These are the different places and different times in which I am, by the grace of God, and I should be honest with myself–and aware–and do the best with each season’s imperfections and beauties. Every one of these moments is laced through with sin and fallenness and the longsuffering glory of my Savior: the fallenness and decay drive us towards home, and the glory provides the scenery along the way.
I don’t want to miss any of it.