August always seems like a time of beginning and ending, a change of season when one doesn’t actually exist.
I think this is largely because our kids’ school has always started in August, and because for many years as I taught, it was back to school/work for me as well. And I love that feeling, that shift to a new page, a new “year,” often involving a new planner of some sort, which makes things extra wonderful. Ahem.
August feels like a time of ending as well: end of summer, end of that more-relaxed season, end of our kids at home (both of ours went away for their Freshman year of college during August, leaving for real for the first time). Endings and beginnings, packing up and starting anew.
This was especially true last summer, beginnings endings interwoven, and much of that has been running around my brain these past weeks.
A year ago we were packing up. Everything. Our house in California had sold, our new house (which I had yet to see) was purchased two time zones away in Texas, and we were embroiled in sorting out every stinkin’ thing we owned, deciding what to keep and move 1400 miles, what to sell/donate, and what to toss, sure that no one would want it. It was overwhelming. Ending our time in our home of 16 years, beginning a totally new chapter in a new place.
A dear friend just went through this dance a month and a half ago, sorting, packing, selling, moving. Ugh. Brought back memories. I was tired just thinking about it.
In any case, we weren’t just packing ourselves last August, but our daughter, our youngest kid, was going away to college for the first time and she was forced to decide what to take with her, what to send to Texas with us, and what really didn’t matter enough to keep. I was so impressed with her ability to distill that so quickly: Decide what bore keeping, what as essential, and what she could let go.
Such a vital skill, the more I think about it. Not just in the event of moving everything you own into a tiny dorm room, but in life. One thing this move has taught me is that traveling light through this world is essential to traveling well. If we try to drag everything along with us, we are weighed down and the journey is just so much harder. If we keep hauling everything that’s ending, we have no space for what’s beginning.
So as we walk on, we need to leave behind the stuff, not just physical but mental and spiritual, that weighs us down. We need to decide what parts of what’s ending bears keeping. We need to decide- in every season of life- what is most essential, what we need to decide what to bring forward to the new beginning. And we need to have the courage to discard what is of no value as we begin the next season.
In all of this process, I’ve seen the value of learning to walk on with grace and openness. The freedom in leaving behind the blame and bitterness, and bringing forward the people and relationships that help us grow and become.
I am reminded again of a post from over a year ago, back in another season of life. Take a look at it here: http://kathleentysinger.com/2016/06/13/gardens-and-suitcases
I encourage you, sweet friends, to travel light through this world. In this season of ending and beginning, don’t allow the burdens of what has ended pull you down from what’s beginning.