Friday, August 24, 2018

Stablilizing a Wonky Summer

I looked out the car window while we waited at a stoplight. There was a tree in the medium draped in generously large yellow blossoms. And all around the tree, yellow butterflies flitted about as if they recognized how perfectly well-matched they were to the flowers. A day or so later I noticed a large yellow butterfly touring our backyard; I waited for it to settle somewhere hoping to get a good look. It didn’t settle on my watch. The days have been rather warm and muggy causing both plants and humans to wilt, parched while waiting for the dry, cooler air to come. It hasn’t and we are left waiting. Meanwhile all through the house, fans whir creating artificial breezes giving the illusion that it’s not so bad.

These summer days have been a bit like watching for the large yellow butterfly to settle someplace; I check weather apps in hope of a change in the weather. Instead of the weather changing, the topography of our lives comes to a sharp turn. It has been a transitional summer – one leaving us searching for a new normal to organize our days around. Nothing feels quite settled yet and I wonder if we will ever find our days held together by the scaffolding of regularity again. I don’t expect humdrum but right now it is as if we are on an endless moving walkway. We aren’t, but it feels so. It is as if the rhythm of our days seems a bit unstable – a bit wonky. We wait for a recognizably new blossom to come forth as Friedrich Schiller wrote in Act IV, scene III of William Tell, “What’s old collapses, times change, and new life blossoms in the ruins.”

I find myself restless in the midst of lots of little decisions wrapped around a few bigger ones. The big decisions seem to get made; it is the little decisions that ruffle my feathers and drive me to escape into a more comfortable space in my head. As the decision/action list increased I found myself reading about making home and rethinking what nesting means to me. Just when life seems less than normal I rethink something solid under my feet, but the rethinking doesn’t cause a cosmic reformation of my days; it merely helps me feel some sense of control. The way I cook, do laundry, clean house and maintain order is something that grounds me in the midst of change. The big changes and the zillion little time consuming decisions may settle with the dust when I get my homemaking done, but I design and control the homemaking. It isn’t helping me make decisions, but it does help me keep my sanity.

I vacillate between frustrated and unhappy about the weather, and grateful I have a roof over my head with electricity to run those fans. A nice breeze moves in through the screen door as if to remind me it gets better. The breeze stirs up the wind chimes and the sound calms me. I fluctuate between concern about the cost of changes reshaping our lives to experiencing the flutter of anticipation waiting to see what God is doing in all this. If I could I would be out and about floating around with the butterflies, but here I sit rock solid without wings. In the ordinary corners of my day the Spirit meets with me and lifts me from this heavy place.

I ride on the wings of joy and hope in expectation of my life direction being turned this way and that until it is refocused. The Spirit helps me to be brave when I am not naturally brave. In a way it is like changing plots in the middle of a story. No surprise to God, though. How do you handle change? Do you find yourself in an unsettled place right now? What, if anything, do you do to help normalize it? I have a wonderful support system: my husband, friends, daughters, my mom and most of all my Heavenly Father. What about you? The people who wrap me in their love and encouragement in the midst of change increase my sense of peace and joy in spite of all the unexpected surprises and waiting.
Have you found a loving bunch of people to support you?


  1. Part of what gives me courage is knowing I am not alone. I have a loving wife, family, friends, church family and the promise of Isaiah 41:10, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

    1. Hey...that's my favorite scripture when I feel afraid too.