There's Something About October

For the past few weeks I've been trying to articulate why I've been anxiously waiting to turn the page on my Paper Source wall calendar to the month of October. To put it simply, there's just something about October and I've been anticipating her arrival for months. Summer is my least favorite season and typically by August (or even July, let's be honest), I'm so over the heat and ready for the cooler temperatures to set in. Yet I realize that without summer, the entrance of fall wouldn't feel as rich or grand.

Isn't that true about life sometimes? The good times and seasons of plenty and blessing could pass unknowingly had we not gone through the fire or seasons of lack to reach them. I'm not implying that good times have to be earned, but instead, I believe God designed our lives to operate in seasons. 

Right before my 24th birthday I experienced a breakthrough of sorts and finally felt like myself for the first time since my move to Texas the year before. I often affectionately refer to my 22nd and 23rd year of life as the year of death part one and two - not dramatic at all, right? I've found it common for people trying to navigate life in their early 20's to experience some sort of dying to self as they embrace adulthood and start owning their life choices and planning for the future. 

Needless to say, after a few years of watching dreams, expectations and relationships wilt and in some cases, wither all together, I was ready for something new. One night after a prayer meeting with some friends I came home and thought to myself I'm going to wake up a new person tomorrow. And I did. I finally confronted the disappointment deep inside, making space for something new to come to life. The seasons of death and hardship had prepared the way for new life. 

I've been anticipating a shift for the past several weeks now, as if I'm waiting for the dam to finally break open and spill over. I don't know what you believe about God or the Holy Spirit, but I think there's a voice to our spirits, whispering that change is coming if we'll only learn to embrace it. October represents that change to me. And I feel hopeful for the first time in a while - a gift not to be taken for granted, but deeply appreciated. 

No matter what sort of season you're in, ask yourself what you can anticipate today. Living without hope can be a dark and lonely place to be. Believe with me during this month of October that hope is rising and new life is spring forth if we'll only lean in a little while longer. Each morning this month I've decided to ask what I can anticipate and hope for. I plan to write it down and then let gratitude fill my soul as I look back and see the shifting and breakthrough. Good is coming, friends. 

The Aftermath of Pillow Fights

Sometimes I feel as though there's a million little feathers floating around in the space of my brain. I imagine the aftermath of an intense pillow fight - feathers flying, the room in disarray and my parents calling from downstairs wondering if everything is ok. I see myself frantically running around trying to catch each feather before it lands unnoticed and then pick up the room to avoid being caught red handed in the mess. 

In the moment the chaos of pillows flying and feathers exploding seems exciting, wild and maybe slightly terrifying. And what started perhaps innocently has now transpired into a real mess. I often feel the same after an intense experience - when I finally stop to look around, I realize the room looks nothing like it did before. I want to both revel in it, take it in and then start cleaning so that it appears as though nothing ever happened in that space. 

Since returning from Europe, I've felt the need to catch and touch every thought, face, revelation or idea floating around in the space of my mind. It's like the fight has finally died down and I'm left with the floating feathers and messy room wondering how I could go back to normal again. And dreading the questions that will inevitably follow from anyone who walks in. 

In many ways, my time overseas this summer was a culmination of my interests, passions, giftings and promises and a collision of great suffering and great opportunity. It was both wild and exhilarating and terrifying and sobering. Each time I look back I'm a bit overwhelmed, thinking how can I ever remember and apply everything I learned? How could I un-see the suffering I witnessed or the little faces that became so dear to me? And how do I put the room back together again? 

I'm not sure the room can ever be the same - I can attempt to catch every feather and put the room back together, but the truth is something significant happened in that space. 

But it doesn't end there. The second act has yet to begin. And if I were to pause during intermission to attempt to analyze everything that happened in the act before, I'd miss the opening of the next scene. My eyes must stay open to what's ahead - thus the tension between processing the past and looking forward to the future is birthed. 

I long to find the balance of living in the middle of that tension - to both catch all the little feathers of the past and start dreaming up something new for the space I've found myself in. Today I'm content putting one or two more pieces of past experience into perspective and stirring hope in my own heart looking to what's next. 

When I was prepping for this post, I discovered there is such a thing as International Pillow Fight Day. Apparently people in over 100 different cities worldwide celebrate this tradition with a public pillow fight. You can thank the Amsterdam Photo Club for sponsoring the photo cover of this post. 

Come April 2nd, feel free to join me in celebrating this obscure international holiday.