Already Here

I breathe in the quiet of this day, a welcome pause in the middle of a full summer. It is summer’s true middle, according to the calendar, though it feels more like summer’s end, according to life. In a matter of weeks I return to work, and the children return to school. That feels like fall.

We have all enjoyed summer’s pace. Steady and slow, marked by moments of work and moments of play, the break from lessons and structure has been good for us. The busy­ness has been of a different sort.

I thrived on projects getting done, the children enjoying pool or screen or friend time. A first in our family’s history was when everyone left an amusement park with the words, “best day ever,” on their tongue.

This lazy day is a gift, and I try to steward it as such. It is a literal and figurative Sabbath. Literal, because it is actually Sunday, and figurative, because I am choosing to fill it with all that brings rest to my soul and life to my heart. I read, write, ponder, and nap. I am still.

I owe the gift of this rest day to a summer cold. It crept up on me in the wake of an intense week, leading preschoolers during Vacation Bible School. My own four children were participants, as well. It was a family endeavor. It was also a re-­entry from the cozy confines of our humble abode into the germ pool of being in close quarters with small children and other people.

We all came away with some sort of summer cold, reminding us that fall is coming, and our immune systems will not boost themselves!

The Bible school backstory brings me to this space. The quietness of a screen free zone for the girls at home opens time for me to read and think and rest and write. I ponder how to welcome fall and the upcoming school year, while wondering how my husband and son are doing as they help adult children move to a city two hours away.

One is moving from one apartment to another across town. The other is moving back home for a season. A text alerts me that another will be here for coffee on his way home from his girlfriend’s house. She lives two hours northeast of here, his home is two hours south. Our’s makes a good half­way stopping point when there is time in transit. A new text follows shortly. He just saw one of my high school friends at Trader Joe’s.

I cannot make this up. I can only welcome it as the shifting of one normal to the next.

With the adult children moving further up and further into adulting, the younger ones take their place, leaving my feet planted firmly in the ground of middle age .

I am not sure how to welcome this season of my life. This day offers me space to ponder that thought and be curious about what is coming. This topic invites me to consider what it means to welcome change, even as I want to slam the door and push my back up firmly against it while digging my heels into the floor.

Resistance to change does not work. I have tried door­ slamming and digging­ in and failed miserably. That door flew open and flattened me, leaving me reeling in confusion and trampled by fear.

I am ready to try a different approach. I am ready to welcome what was and what is and what will be with care and curiosity. Even as feet come scrambling out of rooms and thumping down the stairs, indicating screen free zone is over, I will continue to rest in the moment and quiet my heart.

I will welcome this unknown change that is coming with kindness and curiosity. Ready or not, it is already here.

Julie McClayJulie McClay lives in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley with her high school sweetheart (and husband of 24 years) and 5 of their 8 children. She is learning that while it can be painful to face the past honestly while living in the moment and looking towards the future, it can be healing and lead to the hope of a brighter future. She digs through these thoughts and feelings here.