I hope you woke up today grateful for another beautiful day. No matter how challenging it might end up being, it’s the only Monday, September 9, 2019 you’ll ever experience.
Last week I stood in my garden with David (who’s been staying a little longer and helping a little more these days), and my mom. We were weeding and watering the vegetable beds – or what’s left of them. The cucumbers, zucchini, squash, the herbs and the marigolds are still going strong. The tomatoes and peppers are leaning onto the wires of their support ladders barely staying green any longer.
It was early in the morning and the air was still fresh. I could tell the sun was coming down at a different angle, creating different shades than the ones in the early summer. There was wind in the trees, which was making the sounds of autumn – when the leaves sing together their last song.
I was quiet. Then I said how much I loved my garden and how amazing all the meals were that it had given us.
David asked me if I liked this time of year… I quickly and honestly said “No. It makes me sad.”
I always had a hard time with the end of summer. When I was growing up, it meant saying goodbye to my summer friends on the coast, ending a singing gig with my dad’s band, having to leave the beautiful sunset by the sea, and the fragrance of the pines and lavender, and returning to my hometown of Zagreb.
I always had a hard time with endings and saying goodbyes.
Actually, I could never do it. Instead, I’d say: “‘Till next time” and keep my mind focused on the ebb and the flow of life that circles back and forth, and away from the closed doors or broken bridges that indicate hard, definite endings.
For the longest time, I thought I was ‘fooling’ myself. But it wasn’t ‘fooling.’ It was shifting my mindset.
I knew fully well that I would never be 13 again spending a summer on the coast of Croatia, or 17, or 27… I knew that watching my youngest boy graduating from kindergarten meant I’d never be a kindergarten mom again. I knew that letting go of Matthew’s hand the night before he passed away, I would never again feel its warmth in mine.
But I had to give my mind and my heart a way to cope with the pain of endings.
I’d get excited about the new school year and all that was ahead.
I’d hold on to a belief that life changes and doesn’t ‘end.’
I found consolation in the transformation itself.
And that meant I had to take both ends of the path – the one behind and the one ahead – and go through it. Not running away, but slowly taking each step processing the feelings it brought.
And I learned, early on in my life, that when I did that, I was able to transition without trying to numb or avoid the pain. And that each transition was a rich gift that brought new understanding of why letting go was hard, which feelings I felt and how they affected my behavior and future choices. Yea it hurt, and yes I cried. But when I emerged on the other side, I felt the new space and growth each transition brought.
So… whatever transition you are in at the moment – or approaching – don’t be afraid of going through it mindfully and with gratitude and love. Don’t resist it… The summer will end whether you like it or not. The tomatoes will die and so will the zucchini and the cucumbers… And the leaves will fall to the ground leaving the trees bare. It’s how it is.
But then there will be cinnamon teas and home-made breads, and a warm blanket to cozy up under. And hopefully, there will always be a hand you can hold, knowing that Love is bigger than all of us… and God shows up in many different places and people (and it still doesn’t take away from the specialness of that One who will forever remain a part of you.)