Today marks the first day of my favorite month of the year. I remember when I was younger, likely until I was well into my twenties, I always thought of myself as a summer girl. Warm weather, staying up until early morning, sleeping until early afternoon, plenty of time to hang out with the large group of friend I’d cultivated…it seemed like a beautiful time. I suppose over the years, my definition of beauty has changed.
October is so beautiful. I remember the fall of 2008, just before I graduated. I spent my days driving to a tiny rural community to do my student teaching, and it was one of the best times of my life. That drive, I maintain, is what changed my definition of beauty. I’ve never been much of a morning person, but there was NOTHING like that October drive in the fall. Crossing the long bridge over the lake still brings pictures to mind that will probably stay with me for the rest of my life; mist rising above the glassy water, the sun rising off in the distance, the bank of jagged cliffs covered in trees with vividly colored fall leaves. Silence. There was no way to make that drive but in silence. And in the afternoons, it was more of the same. Except it was warm enough to drive with the windows down, blasting my favorite Anberlin album as loudly as my poor speakers would allow, singing at the top of my lungs through those vivid colors, the hills and valleys of southwest Missouri. And to add glory to already heartbreaking beauty, late that fall I met and fell in love with my Joshua. I confess that I have rarely felt more alive than in those drives, surrounded by the simple pleasure of God’s absolutely mind-blowing artistic creativity, in both nature and in love.
I find myself longing for the simplicity of that time of life. For in no moment did I ever wonder if what I had was enough.
I confess that I long for those moments because I feel myself becoming a part of the teeming masses that spend their days striving for an American dream. For more and bigger and better, and more and bigger and better. Striving for jobs to be defined by, possessions to be owned by, people to be envied by.
And I have no desire for it. More and bigger and better are exhausting to my soul, to be perfectly honest. And yet, because some voice inside my head tells me I need it, I keep on pushing. Keep on striving. Keep on coming home tired and anxious and, to an extent, dreadful.
In many moments lately, I consider what it would take. I daily consider quitting my job and going back to waiting tables, serving people with a genuine smile and a genuine heart. I consider what we could do with the extra time and space in our lives, the extra energy. I consider what lifestyle changes we would have to make to compensate for the lesser income. God knows we’d have to make some pretty big changes.
And a little more every day…I want to make them.
It does not get more honest than this.