‘You’re going through life quite wonderful, and then suddenly… this’. The words of my grandad who has been thrown into a new and horribly unfamiliar mental and physical environment. In some ways, he is a shadow of his former self. A diet of hospital food and forced abstinence from gin will do that to you. But in other ways, the things that should be clear to us all always- and yet so often are muted by the loud barking of daily life- have been thrown into sharp relief for him. Love, loss, pain and gratitude are to the forefront of his vision. Right where the pages of Ceefax and the Guardian used to be.
My mum and I travelled up across the Peak District and the Pennines to visit him this morning. And if my Facebook newsfeed is anything to go by, I am not alone in thinking the colours of this autumn are more gloriously radiant than I have ever seen them. It’s every hue of gold and copper and auburn out there. And for once, the air was crisp and denuded of its usual cloudy attire. It felt like a message to one like me who grasps at every strategy under the sun to control all aspects of life, even if it means pre-emptively stripping the trees bare rather than be taken aback and disappointed. It felt like a message that- and forgive me for using the American terminology- there’s grace and beauty in our Falls.
I can’t shut my eyes to the inevitability of literal and figurative winters. I cannot bloom perennially. But in all seasons, I can choose to see love, receive love, and give love. For all my blustering attempts at self-preservation cannot compare to the rest and majesty of leaning into God’s strength.
Jeremiah 31:25: “For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.”