Today is the first Sunday of the month. It’s time for the IANDS meeting and the Helping Parents Heal meeting. The Bengals are playing this afternoon. Normally, that would be a conflict for me- the IANDS meeting from 1:30 to 3:00 and the Bengals game kicking off at 1:00, but we’re 3-7-1, playing terribly and not going to the playoffs this year, so I don’t care about the Bengals game. I’m going to go to the IANDS meeting.
The weather has been typical late fall Ohio weather this past week. IOW, I haven’t seen the sun in days. Today, it’s cold and spitting rain (at least it’s not snow). I listen to a Podcast about the seasons of life. This one hits home for me. The new revelation for me is as moderns, we have virtually eliminated seasonality and natural rhythms from our lives. Even day and night we control since the invention of the electric light. People used to get up and go to bed pretty much with the sun. In the winter, we would rise later and we would go to bed earlier. Now, we refuse to accept it’s night at 6 o’clock in the evening even though our bodies, at least my body, is saying “time to go to bed” around 8 o’clock. We can buy tomatoes year round. We can go to the grocery store at 2 o’clock in the morning, in February, and buy tomatoes.
The point to this is when the inevitable seasons of life crash in on us, we are flabbergasted. “What the hell is this?” When our kids go off to college or when our company lays us off, we don’t know what just happened. I can relate to both of those particular events. I knew when Kayla was born that “one day” she would graduate high school and go off to college. But, “one day” was not today, so I just put that thought away for another day. Then “one day” came and now here I am, an empty nester. So, what seasons do I have to look forward to? I’m not going to live forever. Tywana’s not going to live forever. The vows we took acknowledging “ ‘til death do us part.”, will one day come to pass. My mother just turned 80. I’ve been lucky so far. That luck will run out.
I am guilty of holding onto seasons for too long, a recipe for pain and suffering. This is true even in the literal sense. I hate winter. I find myself saying “Just last week it was 70º.” or “Just a few weeks ago, it was light at this time in the morning/evening”. The same thing has happened every year of my 55 years on the planet, and every year it’s like it takes me by surprise. I don’t want to let go of the sun and the warmth of summer. Eventually, I have to let go. Winter always comes. And, around the time I finally accept winter is here, I get the realization that spring always follows winter. A meme with George R.R. Martin (the writer of Game of Thrones) hits my newsfeed. It’s equating Trump’s presidency with the winter forecast in the first several seasons of GoT “Winter is coming.” they would always say. Winters in GoT are many years long. This winter we know will be at least four years. But, spring, inevitably follows winter. Winter cannot hold on forever.
But, today it is winter, or at least late fall. I don’t feel like going to the IANDS meeting and I’m sick of the Bengals. I decide to stay in and turn on the game. I won’t cheer. I won’t let them draw me into some false sense of hope. Of course, the Bengals crush the Eagles. LOL.
It’s getting dark by the time the game finishes. I make a quick dinner so that we can get to the Helping Parents Heal meeting on time. We are expecting a small turnout. In fact, I wonder if anyone will show. It’s dark and drizzling. We get to the meeting ten minutes early and see one of the couples whose been attending walking it. It’s so nice of them to come because they are actually leaders in another organization. I suspect they come to serve. And, they have a long drive to get here. It turns out they are the only ones who are going to show tonight. We talk about our kids, of course. We talk about what we have been reading and watching. We talk about how we get through these days until the winter of our kids’ departures pass. We talk about the future of the group. They are leaders in a group that is not as focused on the afterlife and the continuation of life and they express they think there is a need for our group. Maybe in the spring some people from their group will join us occasionally. Tywana and I have pretty much decided no matter how few people show up, we’re going to keep this going through next summer to give it a chance.
We head back home, watch a little TV and I decide to do some reading before falling asleep. And I read this:
“If you can help just one soul to find itself, if you comfort only one mourner, if you heal only one sick person, then the whole of your earthly life has been justified. How privileged you are to be aware of the tremendous power that is around you and about you, that enfolds you, guards you, directs you and ensures that you will continue to unfold your latent divinity and the gifts which are your cherished possessions.”– from The Silver Birch Book of Questions & Anwers