It’s officially Autumn, or in the more common nomenclature, Fall. Fall is my favorite season, which is somewhat surprising given my feelings for the season that follows. But following season or not, this is now Fall – the time of year when everything winds down, the fields give up their bountiful harvest, and the leaves begin their slow descent to the ground from which they were originally nourished. Much of the Northern Hemisphere goes into a deep slumber, and waits, for the eventual Spring that will come in time. We call this season Fall and that term sums up more than what happens to the leaves on the trees. Nature herself gives us a reminder of the ultimate cycle of life we must all follow, over and over and over, until, in the end, we complete it one last time. I love this season primarily because of all that it reminds me of – sticky fingers full of caramel apple goodness, clothes covered in the prickly remnants of a well executed pile dive, the diesel hum and creaking tongue of night time hayrides in the cold night air, and the slow moving warm tingle of hot cider and extremity melting bonfire at the end. It’s the time of pumpkin pies and family gatherings, new classes and old friends, bluest skies and crisp colors everywhere, and the land sighing in relief at the end of a hot Summer. However, I also love this season because, while the Earth around me seems to be preparing for a long Winter’s nap, I always seem to be waking up from one. I don’t know if it’s all that I mentioned above, or the abundant Fall sunshine in this part of the world, or if it’s the reminder of my own mortality, but this happens every year. This year’s Fall however has brought with it something very different than years past. This is Fall, and true to nature and the word, something has fallen in my life, and with it have come difficult new changes into my own little world.
Summer ended quickly and painfully for my wife and I. At a time when most families are gearing up for the new school year, and getting back into normal routines, we were doing the opposite. We were saying goodbye to the 3 Godchildren who had come to live with us nearly 3 years ago. They were returning to their biological mother and starting a new life without us, and all of our usual routine was being chucked out the window and we were left spinning, like leaves tumbling to the ground below. In the weeks that have followed I’ve found myself very lost, falling as it were, to an unseen future, and now 2 months and 2 days later I’m finally able to come to the conclusion that I’ve fallen, and hit the cold earth of reality at long last. I miss my old home with my colorful little leaves up above, soaring so high in the breeze, and feeling life blow past us. I miss the sound of their singing, and the beautiful music we made together. I thought it would never end. When the tree that was our anchor let us all go, I didn’t understand. Spinning, floating, falling, we were all separated, and I was very frightened. Things lost their luster and life became lonely and sad. All I could think about was how to get back up the tree – how to make it sway again, and how to regain that old feeling and that old life. But there was nothing of it, and no way to get back up. I’ve fallen. And what is a fallen leaf to do? What is a fallen man to do?
Like all the little leaves, all I could see before me is Winter – cold, gray, and ominous on the horizon, bringing with it death and darkness. There’s so many things I miss about the kids, so many things I want to tell them, so much left to do. I miss their noise, and I miss their laughter. I miss it when they talk back to me and when they leave their stuff all over and I trip on it. I miss their smiles and their frowns and I miss the feel of their hair in my fingers in the morning, and most of all, I miss the wonder and joy they brought with them. I miss them. But they’re not coming back and that season of my life is over, and all that’s left is a fallen man wondering where my Maker is and why He is seemingly quiet and letting me lie here, lost and thrown about by the cold winds of grief and despair.
I was looking through some old things today and found an old book of poems from when I was an 8th grade geek, pimply and filled with angst, wondering why my Maker wouldn’t take away my zits or make the hot girl in the third row notice me. The book was filled with both poems I had composed and some that I had clipped from various books. I had unearthed it a few months back to show to my godson when he was working on composing his own poems for an assignment, and then shoved it in my nightstand in hopes of coming back to it later. Tonight just happened to be later. In it I found two poems (below) I had copied and pasted (literally) into the book – poems an 8th grade boy should find no interest in – but lo and behold they were there nonetheless. Perhaps it was God, intervening in the life of a Junior High dreamer and guiding his hand, knowing that 20 years later he would be asking for an answer, a sign or something, and he would read it again and it would undo him. I have been undone – but you know, just like the leaves that fall, are falling, and have fallen, colorful as they once were, being undone is often the only way to be made whole again and grow anew when the seasons change.
God, may it be so.
When little things would irk me, and I grow
Impatient with my dear ones, make me know
How in a moment joy can take its flight
And happiness be quenched in endless night.
Keep this thought with me all the livelong day
That I may guard the harsh words I might say
When I would fret and grumble, fiery hot,
At trifles that tomorrow are forgot –
Let me remember, Lord, how it would be
If these, my loved ones, were not here with me. ~ Author Unknown
May His Counsels Sweet uphold you,
And His Loving Arms enfold you,
As you journey on your way.
May His Sheltering Wings protect you,
And His Light Divine direct you,
Turning darkness into day.
May His Potent Peace surround you,
And His Presence linger with you,
As your inner, golden ray. ~Author Unknown
My heart aches for you and Janna. What a wonderful 3 years you did have. What a significant number 3 is. Look to Jesus, as I already know you are.
Oh, the many seasons in ones life. A new one awaits the two of you. Embrace it together and follow where it leads.
Fall is my favorite season too. I always loved reading anything you wrote. This was no different. Beautiful, sincere, and honest. I look forward to a book from you someday. I remember the poetry from Mrs. Paiges class in Jr. High. Those were some of the best, simple, and carefree times of my life. I loved hearing your poems. And I dont remember any pimple faced kid! You always wore your heart on your sleeve. Thinking of you and praying for you in this time of healing and learning.
Thank you for your kind words – and I agree about those days – simple, carefree, and blissful. Not without their own angst and frustration, but certainly easier than being an adult! If only my mother were to see this now… Thank you for your prayers as well. Hope all is well with you and yours!
I, and I am sure so many others, ache with you over the loss that you have suffered. To have children in your home everyday for three years and then to simply not have them is an unbearable pain I am sure. I sit her almost in tears for what I know must be the hardest thing you have ever had to go through. Know that in your pain our hearts are with you. I pray for you and Janna. To love a child means to carry them with you always in your heart. You may not always have them next to you, but they will forever be a part of you! I hope that you can find some sense of peace in all of this!
Thank you as well for your kind words. This has indeed been the most difficult thing I’ve ever gone through, but God has been in it all, and all will be well. I am finding peace, and yet, I’m not sure anything will ever be able to replace the three little holes in my heart that are now there. But all in all, that’s ok. As Thornton Wilder said in his play The Angel that Troubled the Waters, “In love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.” I suppose that about sums it up. Lord have mercy. Please say hello to Tim and the rest of your family for us!
Wow man, it’s hard to even fathom how bad this must hurt. Having my own son for 6 months now sort of puts this in perspective. What if he was taken away from me? And I can only imagine the pain is that much worse if I had known him 3 years instead of 6 months, and if he had 2 sisters who were also taken with him. Lord have mercy! Time seems to have a way of healing, so just remember that how you are feeling right now is not the way you are going to feel forever. Keep God in your sights, and pray often – so will I!
Thanks Brian – it’s not been easy, but you know, God’s been through it all – it just takes time to see it. Thank you for your prayers!