It is fall on the calendar but the thermometer has me still thinking summer. I am in the process of accepting that the fall of my expectation isn’t coming.
Having lived in Michigan and Ohio my whole life autumn means colorful leaves falling like confetti celebrating wonderful things like sweaters, leaf piles to jump in, and pumpkin patches. Now that I live in Texas my fall sweaters are thin and sleeveless, leaf piles don’t exist and if they did I would never jump in one for fear of snakes, fire ants, giant spiders and scorpions, and the fields didn’t actually grow the pumpkins that sit in them. Pumpkins also cost a small fortune here because they were imported from places like Michigan and Ohio.
I really miss the apples. Fall in Michigan meant red, green, and yellow apple everything. It’s apple orchards where I climbed the branches to reach fresh apples and played apple baseball with my family. It’s apple cider from an antique press and carmel apples sticking to my hands, face and teeth. The cinnamon apple smell recalls memories of sculpting statues from apple pie dough with my grandma Harriet and canning applesauce with grandma Ruth. But I live in Texas now, I’ve moved from apples to avocados.
I’ve made a far enough physical move that cultural differences exist. I miss the simple comforts of the familiar. Simple things like apples that I have taken for granted my whole life are now only viewed in the pages of a magazine not experienced out my back door. I can reminisce but I can’t replace or replicate the apples of my life.
In Susan Miller’s book “After the Boxes Are Unpacked”, she writes “Moving is more than loading and unloading boxes. It’s leaving behind everything familiar to face the unknown.”
It’s our longing of belonging that drives us to hold on to things (usually a little too tightly), take things with us or try to duplicate it at our next location. The danger comes when you compare the old with the new instead of cherishing the old and embracing the new. My friend Ava wisely advised, “Comparison is a thief. It robs you of joy and contentment.”
Ecclesiastes 6:9 says “Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have.”
I remember feeling distaste for a new playgroup of women and children in Michigan because I compared them to my old group in Ohio. Once I finally let go of comparing the two groups I was able to start over with the new group and embrace them for what they were, not resent them for what they were not. It was unfair expectation I had put on them and when I put my hopes back on God instead of other people and things, I was able to move ahead in new friendships.
Hebrews 13:5 says “Be satisfied with all you have for God has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’.” At the end of the day, no matter how many times I move, there is contentment and comfort that I always belong to God no matter where I move, to the land of apples or avocados.