On Sunday night I was coming home from a trip to North Carolina. The light in August, if you have noticed, is different than that of July and especially June. The early summer has a white, almost harsh light, but later summer is golden, warm, mellow. The shadows are somehow deeper and louder; nothing is watered down in August sunshine.
All of this sun and green were passing me by. Great, straight fields of crops stretching out, punctuated by trees flaming with light and height. I get sentimental about the end of the summer, especially the end of summer in North Carolina, when suddenly you find another season has gone and you can't always remember how you spent it, but you hope you did it well.
As we drove, we passed a billboard of a car salesman and his dog. It's part of this salesman's advertising campaign, and has been for years. I used to know someone who thought this campaign was very funny, so every time I see it, I think of him. This is someone I used to be in love with, someone I thought would be in the picture for a long time to come.
So summer is at its peak, approaching waning, with the sun burnishing everything in full relief, and all my thoughts turned toward - how does this happen? How does time go on and on, how do I leave behind things that were once so important to me, that no longer are? Why is it almost uncomfortable remembering ourselves as we were, with those awful growing pains as we go from one stage of life to the next? Why is it that time will never stop, and give you an explanation?
St. Theresa of Avila prayed:
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
This is the only sure thing. Relationships, houses, jobs and friends change. You change, too. But the only true thing (as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, amen) is the permanence and reality of God. The only answer is to keep God at the center of your life because without it, you are adrift. There is nothing else, anyway.
You can't ever really leave those things from your past behind, even if you wanted to. I am the sum of all my experiences and thoughts, the people I have met, the ideas I have synthesized into my life, the loves and opinions that have grafted themselves on to me or that I have grown into through wisdom and choice. I will never, ever leave that love behind, because I am unable - it is as much a part of who I am as my hands, my eyes.
When I feel as if I have lost something (or someone, or an experience) that I know I will never get back - even if it is for the best - I turn to this truth and know that nothing has been lost, after all. It is so important to learn and grow from where we've been, and just as important to keep moving forward with the understanding that everything happens in God's time, according to his plan, and that we are always in His hands.
Feel that for a moment: feel the feeling of being held by God, forever, unceasingly.
My heart ached a small bit for the sunshine and the past on Sunday. But acknowledging the love of my Creator brought me back to the present and the blessings that fill my life today, and a gratitude for the opportunity to keep going toward whatever He has planned for me next. That is all that is asked of me. And I thank God every day for keeping me close to His heart and opening my eyes so I can begin to see this.