"I'm too old for changes," said Bilbo, the famous hobbit, "especially unpleasant ones."
It's a strange, changing time of year. Autumn is gone; the trees are bare, the grass is yellowing, and the air doesn't have that crisp fall smell. Winter is not yet here; the days grow relatively warm when the sun is out, and there is no snow. It's that awkward in-between time, like the pause between two movements in a piano sonata, at a piano recital. Half the audience is inclined to clap, because they think it is the end of the piece, and the more knowledgeable half of the audience hopes desperately that nobody claps, because they know that the young pianist is only collecting himself to play the next movement.
Or, it is like the time between conference sessions, when the speaker who has just finished is exiting, and talking with the next speaker in the hallway. Nobody is really in charge, and the audience stirs restlessly until, to their relief, somebody gets up to inform them of the plan for the next hour.
It's a time of year when the world outdoors is changing rapidly. The other evening, a winter wind came slamming across the fields, knocking me off balance and moving everything that wasn't fastened down. I shuddered, and thrilled at the same time, because the austere winter is such a splendid time of year. Tonight, the wind blew again, but warm and gusty. The other morning, I saw ice on the pond. Today, mud gurgled around my boots. The other night, there were snowflakes on the laundry I had hung out. Today, I didn't hang any laundry out, because of splattering rain. Autumn and winter are having it out with each other just beyond our hearing. And until winter takes charge, we have no choice but to accept the changing moods of the weather.
I was thinking about change today. I thought of the childhood friends from whom I never intended to separate--but somehow, they slipped out of my life, or I out of theirs, until we rediscovered each other on Facebook several weeks ago. I think of the people who are in my life now, the everyday people, who give me their smiles and hugs and greetings. It's hard to believe that someday they, too, might drift out of my life--not because of any kind of clashes, but simply through the changing circumstances of life. Their influence on me, and the love they gave me, will always remain, but my relationship with them may change. And I'll admit I kind of want to agree with Bilbo.
And yet, change comes. And it's a good thing, after all. Burdens become lighter when there is promise of change eventually. Relationships with people, and opportunities to enjoy them, become more precious when you know they'll be gone one day. Earthly things--"stuff"--becomes less important because time and change, if not death, will soon snatch it away from us.
So change comes. And just like the passing seasons, each new change brings its own challenges-- and its own delights. And our chiefest delight is the One Who never changes--the One Who created the magic of changing skies, and changing sunsets, and changing seasons.