It’s now 5:30 P.M. on a Friday evening- the Friday before the long Memorial Weekend unfolds and Americans check out for an extra day. Over the last week, I’ve noticed temperatures falling in and out of the office. The sky is darker in the morning on run days- not quite full on night, but heading that way. The sun is dropping earlier in the evening, and the summer’s heat is packing it up, preparing to head south. Fall is on the way. Chile vendors have popped up along some city streets and the chiles are now available for purchase in stores. The seasons are shifting, and my body recognizes this. I have had dull aches in my knees and arms all day today. And I have been enjoying gut-blasting sneezes the last few days.
As with the start of most holiday weekends, I head into it with a melancholy spirit and a sense of steeped aloneness. I am glad for the break of the weekend, no doubt, but with every shifting season, I struggle with mortal thoughts and the recognition that I continue moving forward with the continuing knowledge that I do not have a firm grasp on any gal’s imagination and heart, and that it has been like this, season in and season out, for years. I am involved and participate in life so that I do see and touch many people as a week rolls by, but it has been so long since I have felt safely connected to and cared about by someone special.
For the last year and some I’ve bemoaned the failure of my friendship with the one, but oddly, this week, that has been fading in my heart. The vivid images are receding, the longings are settling down, the hope is finally faltering, and the heart hurt is resolving to a burnt-out numbness. I’m giving up on that one. But what lays behind the hurt of losing that one is the more base, more universal awareness of the situation I have known for quite some time, and that is simply loneliness. As someone mentioned to me some time ago, I perhaps hung on to her so rigorously not only because I liked and wanted her so much, but equally because I also wanted to flee that familiar place for a while. I would rather love a ghost and suspend the reality of my lack of value to her rather than return to that state I have known so well. Probably.
I do love fall. I love the changing colors and temperatures and the vibrant timbres of light as it drapes across evening skies, and the smell of things cooking and fireplaces burning, and the first nips of chill that it brings.
But in some ways, this recurring cycle of change in nature also pinches me regularly, because it suggests to me that as life goes on and seasons on earth change, in so many ways I do not. I go throughout my days, making my meager efforts to do things that make some difference in a life- mine, or another’s- but I myself change so rarely on the inside. And like the near-sighted mute I was at age 4, or the gangly spectacled golem I was as a young teen, or the pensive, pushed-down college kid I was as a sophomore- or even like the career-challenged job-filling journeyman wandering through my thirties- I remain stuck in life, not quite on the outside, and not quite on the inside. A heart in a holding pattern. Even now in life, I am a little too old to be considered young, and a little too young to be considered old.
I continue to feel stuck in the in-between.
Well, reflecting and reminiscing won’t stop the days from waking up later, or from ending earlier. The leaves on trees will still don their yellows and oranges and golds to greet the cooler temperatures. Football season will still start, and I will still need to get out some sweaters and winterize the house.
I guess in some ways, I feel like my heart has been in fall for a long time, and changing seasons, especially this one, subtly reminds me of this. It’s been fall for awhile inside. For me personally, I hope one of these days- or even one of these years- my heart tastes the passion and color and rush of spring again for a while.
I hope so.
In the meantime, as my friend Paul C. reminds me, “It will all make sense one day.” In Christ, spring is always at the door, as it is the season of heaven. “Behold, I make all things new.”
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
― C.S. Lewis