Sunday, May 5, 2013

Unpredictable Seasons

In life
much is unknown.
I once thought I would navigate only smooth waters through life.
Now, why would a mountain girl think that she would sail through life?
I know nothing about the water.
I didn't grow up around it.

I know the mountains.
I know the seasons in Colorado.
I know that mountains can be tough to scale.
 I know that at any time a storm can blow in over the mountain bringing rain, sleet, and snow,
all in one day,
no matter what date is on the calendar.

Pikes Peak from Garden of the Gods
April 21, 2013

Early in my life, before I went to school, I would step outside to look at my beloved mountain,
this very mountain, Pikes Peak, that lived at the end of my street,
to see if I needed to wear a coat to school.
Silly me.
In the morning, I might have seen blue skies behind this peak,
and so I skipped off to school without a coat.
By afternoon, I walked home shivering in the snow I had not seen coming.

Living in the mountains makes you tough.
The air is rarified.
There is not as much of it up here in my neighborhood.
Living in the mountains has taught me that one is not in control of the seasons.

This season of my life has not been an easy one.
Certainly, I never could have expected that when I turned 65,
Celebrating my 65th Birthday
a day I had long looked forward to, (that was because I would no longer have to COBRA my insurance.), that my life would turn upside down just three months later when I lost my dear daughter.

Since that time,
I've needed all the lessons I ever learned in life to take me through this season of grief.
I've learned that grief, like the weather, is very unpredictable.
I've learned that it can make you question everything you ever believed about
life,
faith,
hope,
love,
and
God.

I've learned that you find out who your friends are.
And, I've found out that I have many.
From my friends, the true ones, the ones who have prayed for me,
walked with me, cried with me, and laughed with me,
I've learned what true
compassion,
kindness,
sympathy,
and mercy look like.

I've experienced the grace of God in ways I could never have known if I had not suffered such great loss.

Loss has taught me that
life is precious
and I hope to live it victoriously.

Loss has taught me that faith is the only thing that gets me through the day,
and the only way I will live victoriously is by faith.

I've learned that while there is life, there is hope, but mostly, I learned that
as Rick Warren recently Tweeted,
Optimism is psychological.
Hope is theological.

I've learned that love means a whole lot more than I ever thought it did.
I've learned that I love my children, all of them, more than life itself.

Keicha, Jon, Julie, Mom, Amy, Ryan
Jim's Retirement 2007
I've learned that I never would have made it through these last three years without the love of one person.  That person is the man I married.
He has carried me through it all.


The love of my life

This journey has take a toll on my dear husband,
but he is faithful,
and kind,
and loving.
Thankfully, he has his best friend, the other one besides me,
to one who never asks for anything,
the one who never gets bogged down by grief, loss, sadness, or illness,
to comfort him and bring a smile to his face.

Jim & Boston
His buddy and best friend
And so, in this season of life,
the one we thought would be filled with retirement dreams,
my dear husband and I are experiencing day by day struggles with illness, pain, all those other physical side effects of aging.

The seasons of life are unpredictable.
That is certain.
Since one can never really predict the weather, or the aches and pains of aging,
on good days,
we take off to enjoy the beauty of nature around us.

Jim & Boston walking in the Garden of the Gods

The skies are sometimes threatening, and cloudy, but that does not keep us home.
We are blessed to have such great beauty just several miles from our home.
We've learned that you can't wait for the perfect season, or the perfect day, one must enjoy each day as it comes and give thanks for it.

As a native born mountain girl,
I am taking the lessons I've learned about the seasons to heart.
Spring does not always come when the calendar says it should.
On the 30th of April, we had blue skies, and warm sunny weather for our walk in the neighborhood.


On May 1, I ventured out on the deck to take a photo of our bird bath covered in snow.

One just never knows what to expect from one day to the next with the weather in Colorado!

I am optimistic about the weather.  That is a psychological term that I am applying to the coming days.
I know we will soon have blue skies, and sunny, warm days.

I have hope for the future.
I know I can't predict the future any more than I can predict the weather.
But I have hope.
I have hope because I know who holds my future.
He is the very same One who has held me through all the seasons of my life. 



27 comments:

Jackie said...

This is a heartwarming and beautifully-written blog, Sally. I found a peacefulness as I read it that I can't explain. Thank you for these words.
Love,
J.

Kay said...

That is such a sweet photo of you, Sally. All those photos are so precious. You have such a beautiful family. I'm glad to know your family and friends have helped you through that unexpected pain that you have had to weather. You have shown us, taught us how to cope. You are forever a teacher, Sally. What a blessing that you were given such a fantastic, loving, supportive husband. Although you had to deal with pain, you were given gifts with which to survive them. Sending you lots of hugs from Hawaii.

Arkansas Patti said...

What a beautiful and thoughtful post. I am so glad you have had such wonderful support through the roughest season of your life--the season of grief.
I am also glad that your greatest supporter has had his own place to go to rest. We all need Jim's but we all also need Bostons.

Olga said...

Beautifully written, Sally.

Lynilu said...

Aging is not for the weak, that's for certain. I face challenges, too, different from yours in nature, but I understand the feeling. I'm happy you found Jim to walk with you as you journey ahead. Peace for your heart, RET. :)

Grandmother said...

You've learned well from your precious mountains and their seasons. Thanks for sharing your lessons with us and for honoring your Honey. Blessings be yours from this point on, but it's all a blessing, isn't it?

rosaria williams said...

You've had some major road bumps that will slow you down, knock you off your perch, and make you question every decision you make. Life's complications seem to pile up sometimes.

But you're a mountain girl; and resilience, faith and determination are your qualities. Plan your next trek, and look forward to long days in the sun enjoying the fruit of love and labor, and keep on keeping on.

Love and hugs.

Dee said...

Dear Sally, thank you for this evocative and poignant meditation. It spoke to me at the deep level where I, too, know that I have control only over how I respond to life's vicissitudes and only over what I say to others and to myself.

This posting of yours speaks so strongly of hope--as opposed to optimism--and to the seasons of our life that I think it needs to be published in your local paper or your state magazine. Peace.

DJan said...

I understand. And to have a partner to share the hard times makes all the difference. You are so fortunate to have the family you do. I am so glad I got a chance to meet you in person. It's a beautifully written and heartfelt word poem, Sally. Blessings to you. :-)

Chatty Crone said...

You are an excellent writer and photo taker.

I am still sad for you about the loss of your daughter. I do see the strong woman you have become since I first started following you.

You thoughts and feelings are . . . so elegant.

I think Rick Warren just lost a child too - if I remember correctly.

There is pain everywhere and we have to go thru it - until the end.

Hugs, sandie

thisisme said...

Hallo Sally. It is always good to see a post from you on my blog roll. I know that I'm in for a treat! You write so beautifully , and this post was no exception, about life and what it can throw at us . You looked so beautiful in that photo of your. 65th birthday. Who could have known what was around the corner. My heart aches for all that you have had to suffer. I am just so glad that you have the love of your life to help you through it. Lovely photos of Jim and Boston. The Garden of the Gods you have shown to us before. It really does look like such a special place. Take care.

Jeanie said...

Sally, what a powerful post and one that inspires me to the core. Your mountains are good teachers, you a good student, despite the severity of the lessons. I connect in this now to a way I wouldn't have a month or two ago and I hope I can learn the lessons that come my way with the grace and fortitude, commitment and strength that you have shown me. Hearts to you, my friend. Many of them.

Jean said...

Love your poem and the metaphor of the weather, Kay. Powerfully and poignantly done. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Linda Myers said...

We put one foot in front of the other, don't we?

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

This is a beautiful post, and it's so true. Life is always capable of surprising us, but as we age, surprises come more often just because of the tricks our bodies play on us. Good to remember. Once we have finished with our all-day grandkid-care, I don't think life will be quite as we once expected. Our challenge will be to make it enjoyable and worth living anyway!

troutbirder said...

Beautifully written. And every word and experience speaks to the truth. My wife, Barb and I having lived it since December 1997 which still seems like only a moment and phone call ago...

Terri Tiffany said...

I loved your analogy. We can't predict life anymore than we can the weather but we need to live each day to the fullest. Thank you for your lovely pictures and words!

Rose said...

A very touching post, Sally. Your words of wisdom are a reminder to us all that life is full of unexpected turns and that we should appreciate the blessings we have been given. You are fortunate to have found such a wonderful soulmate.

I can't help commenting whenever I see a photo of Boston--he has really grown! My Sophie is also my faithful listening ear whose unconditional love always helps me get through the bumps along the road.

Wishing you the best,
Rose

Perpetua said...

This is a profound and deeply moving post, Sally, and I both grieve with you and rejoice that you have come through this painful and difficult time with your faith undiminished. I hope the warmth of beauty of summer will arrive for you soon.

dkzody said...

Well said, well lived. Life is hard and you've certainly had your share of hard spots, yet you continue with grace, knowing that God is beside you. I hope the next few months bring relief and the chance to build your strength.

Friko said...

How wise you are.

Hope and trust and love, without them life would be empty and meaningless.

Courage, dear lady, and trust in Him who guides and protects you.

Maggie May said...

That was a really beautiful post and I do admire the way that you have overcome the most awful mountains in life.
Trouble is...... we often slip back a few feet and then have to climb up again to where we thought we were. (Stronger people each time that happens.)

Maggie x

Nuts in May

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Sally,

Thank you for your heartfelt post and for your visit. I have been wondering about how you are.

I enjoyed your pictures too. I can relate to the unpredictability that living in the mountains can bring, and we are only at 4200'.

Sending up some prayers for you guys and some hugs too. I hope that you are happy in your new home.

Kathy M.

Akannie said...

Sally, I could sure relate to these things you've written. Thanks for sharing the insights.
Funny, but getting old (I turned 60 in January) isn't turning out to be ANYTHING like I thought it would be. lol

And so the adventure continues.
Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Mage said...

The weather of the soul and the world around you. Lovely......thank you.

Jackie said...

You don't have to post this comment Sally...I'm just checking on you and wanted you to know that I'm thinking of you.
Love,
Jackie

Margaret Adamson said...

hi Sally I have just come across your blog and have been touched with the sensitive and graceous way you you have written this post. These times were storms come in, we can rely on God to comfort us. He knew the pain in sorrow, however we will be stronger for it as we hand the bunden back to God to carry. Mt prayers go wiht you at this time of grief. Margart