I missed my deadline. The deadline set for this very piece you are reading—I missed it. I don’t have much of an explanation except that, lately, life has kind of been like a hail storm in August.
I’m very much a “season of life” kind of person. Whatever my circumstance—however bright and breezy or strenuous and stormy—it will not last forever. I leaned heavily into the seasons of life when my daughter was waking up every three seconds during the night, or when I had to close my eyes and pray I wouldn’t be denied anytime I swiped my debit card. The hope I’d feel in remembering this is just a season would usually carry me through to the next season.
What I’m learning, however, is that I’m very prepared to weather every season—until, that is, the season suddenly changes. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, which is very much a “four seasons” city. I knew what I was getting myself into while living in Chicago. Sure, we’d sometimes have snow on Easter or Halloween, but even in that, the unpredictable was predictable. The years I lived in Seattle proved to be similarly predictable. Summer begins on July 5th and goes to the end of September, with “sunny and warm” being the undeniable forecast for every day within that window.
It was no surprise, then, that the overwhelming response to anyone hearing of my late August Seattle wedding date was, “Oh! The weather will be perfect!” I knew it was true and so I planned a beautiful outdoor ceremony.
But life, like seasons, can take an unexpected turn.
I had the time set aside in my calendar to write and submit this piece in a timely manner but then I was whipped out of the season I was in so abruptly that I didn’t have a chance to change from my sundress to my parka. My husband’s full-time position was unexpectedly eliminated just before my calendar told me it was time to write my March article. I panicked, but tried to hide it by saying things like, “I’m not panicking!” I felt angry and irritated. I wasn’t ready for my family’s figurative winter yet, and I didn’t think it was reasonable for life to ask me to be ready because it wasn’t logical for our “summer” to be over. I didn’t want to adjust like we did as kids when it snowed on Halloween, sadly having to cover our costume with layers of winter gear.
I liked the season of life I was in and I wanted to stay there until it felt fair for it to end.
Seasons, however, don’t always work on a “fair” system.
The summer I was married turned out to be a wild one in the Pacific Northwest. Western Washington saw an abnormal presence of wildfires, leaving everyone in the area praying for rain. Sure, I acknowledged our need for rain but I wanted my outdoor wedding to go on, even if everything green was turning a little brown. I decided to pray for rain to come on August 31, the day after our wedding.
Even the most dependable seasons can take unpredictable turns. My late August wedding day saw so much—rain, hail, rainbows, and sunshine. The area that “never” sees rain, let alone hail, in late August ended up seeing an abundance of it. Having been born on a notably rare 60+ degree February day in Chicago, I should have known my wedding day would be similarly unseasonable.
Despite having a general idea of what to expect each month to feel like in any given area of the world, I’m learning that the most reliable truth about seasons is that they are pretty unreliable. At any given moment, we can experience August hail, March unemployment, July pregnancy, or February warmth. We can plan everything with thoughtfulness and precision, but the storm system can gain strength or the company can go in a different direction—all without waiting for the seasonably appropriate month.
Maybe what my wedding day taught me is that I should not only be prepared for everything, but I can weather much, too. The unexpected will continue to surprise me, but the more I understand I am not in control (hallelujah) and He is (bigger hallelujah), I can pack an emergency parka and learn to genuinely not panic because, oh yes, this is just a season!
Mallory Redmond embraces anomalies–she is an adventure-loving homebody who keeps a clean house yet always makes a mess while eating or brushing her teeth. She loves dry humor, clean sheets, and gathering around the table with friends. Mallory and her husband, Darren, live in Ohio with their beagle, Roger, and daughter, Evelyn. You can follow her writing here, where her stories are told with the hope of further uncovering the places of connection in our humanity.