I really am enjoying my morning walks lately. The cooler temperatures push me to walk farther and faster. I come home invigorated and still ‘dry’! Every time I step outside I am flooded with a sense of well-being. But along with that also comes some other emotions that have me pondering life.
For example – for some reason the Fall weather triggers more intense memories of my mother and an awareness of her absence. I deeply miss her, while at the same time celebrating the richness she brought to my life. Maybe it hits harder in the Fall because that’s when she got sick, or maybe it is due to the upcoming holidays, or maybe it is just because Fall makes me think of home. The beautiful pumpkins on my porch, the smell of apple cider, the cool crisp air – all trigger powerful memories of life in New York. I am very content and extremely happy to be settled here with my incredible family, but this time of year I still long for the beauty and familiarity of a New York autumn.
While living in New York, I met a young woman from Arizona. She often complained that she could not see the sky because of all the trees. I thought what an odd thing to say. You could always look up and see the sky. And who would complain about all the magnificent tree lined roads and lanes? Then I moved to Texas and experienced the wide open sky. And I realized that for her, the trees blocked her view of the beauty and familiarity of home. I understand that better now. Unfortunately, she never embraced the new beauty before her, never put out effort to adjust, was perpetually miserable, and eventually left. She took the sense of ‘just passing through’ to mean she did not need to invest herself in present circumstances or people.
Some of you may remember an old television show called “The Fugitive”. The lead character was on the run and in each episode he moved to a new town. And even though he was ‘just passing through’, he invested in the lives of those around him. He befriended and helped them in the midst of his own turmoil. He cared enough to make his current world a better place at risk to himself and at the cost of difficult goodbyes. It is just a tv show of course. But it paints an exaggerated picture for us as to our own choices.
We all are ‘just passing through’ in some way or other. Remember the old song with line “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through”? We can, like my Arizona friend, be indifferent to our present world, miserable because life is not comfortable, refusing to embrace the new, or try to change what is wrong. We can keep people at a distance afraid to get close because of how hard goodbyes are. Or we can courageously choose to say “I know I am only passing through, but while I am here…”
When I moved to Texas many years ago, I determined to embrace the beauty Texas had to offer, to give everything I had to adjusting to my new environment, and to make a life for myself here. I am so thankful I did that! Throughout my life I have been equally determined to bond with those around me despite the difficult goodbyes that come. And goodbyes are very difficult for me, I cry…a lot. But I am richer for each relationship I’ve invested in. My hope is that their lives are richer too.
Sometimes as Christians, we are a bit too casual with our attitude of ‘just passing through’ this world. We are surrounded by opportunities to impact our world. And somehow, the Fall weather, memories of my mom and NY, and a girl from Arizona have me pondering how important it is to invest in people, to bring joy to others and to bring change where it is needed.
I know I am only passing through, but while I am here…