I hope you've enjoyed the writers I have shared over the course of this weekend. Today enjoy a lighter, personal short story and join me back here tomorrow as we "Define our Audience" as writers. We'll ask the questions like "who are we writing for?" and "why are we writing?". If you missed a post in 31 Days from Writing to Writer you can catch up over here.
The last time my parents had visited was just a mere six weeks ago. It was much warmer then; actually the warmest weekend we experienced all summer. Our small, non-airconditioned apartment was put to the test as it attempted to keep four warm bodies cool with windows open and fans blowing on high. We spent our afternoon exploring our city by bike, stopping into pubs and cafes along the way, sampling local fares of cheeses, sausage, and beer. In the evening we played a film I cannot recall the name of and tried to remain motionless in the still, hot air. It was truly the definition of a Midwest summer weekend.
It's hard to believe how different this weekend visit was from their last. No longer sweating through the summer heat, we found ourselves wrapped in our warmest layers. Blankets, hot beverages, and slow simmering stews were on the menu. Instead of bike rides around the city it was Saturday college football and antiquing in a nearby town. The men bundled into their hats, mittens, and fall jackets to take in the football. The women walked briskly in their boots and vests from shop to shop, grabbing hot ciders along the way. We regrouped for dinner at an establishment that existed long before our time and enjoyed the likes of chili, tuna casserole, cheese curds, and slowly roasted pulled pork. It was comfort food at it's best and seemed to be the most appropriate action for warming our chilled bodies.
Whilst everything around us continues to progress with unfailing speed, I find myself pausing in these moments. How can so much change occur in a mere six-weeks? A sweltering summer quickly gives way to a brisk fall, and in a matter of days the leaves will fall, snow will take their place, and once again another change will be ushered in. And it's not just the seasons I'm referring to. Life itself seems to move more rapidly with each passing year. That once small apartment we resided in during our first year of marriage seems so long ago. The persons residing within almost impossible to make out in comparison to our lives today. The days of living at home under the direction of our parents are distant in our memories; just a few favorite birthdays, gatherings, conversations, trips and meals take the forefront in our minds.
If I have learned anything from the unfailing (dare I say aggressive) speed of life, it is a willingness to go forth with fists unclenched. I have seen both sides of the coin and the latter is where I will stake my claim. Nothing will bring greater tension and unwarranted stress in my life than trying my hand at manipulating the future already laid out for me by God. My fists clenched so tightly around our plans will always be futile and achieving of nothing in the end. Where as (as I've most difficulty learned) nothing will bring greater peace and joy than experiencing the freedom we have in walking in relationship with Jesus Christ and surrendering our lives (including our plans) to Him. The freedom is there for the taking if only we peel back our fingers and hold out our hands, relinquishing the control we so desperately desire.
If you have an extra moment today, might I suggest reading and rereading John 15:1-11 (or the whole book of John if you happen to have a lot of time on your hands). And when, and only when you've fully sat with the text, might you ask yourself, what side of the coin are you claiming today?