Saturday, September 18, 2004

It's the little things that seem to be saving me today.
-- Mindy Smith, "Down in Flames"...

It is hot, hot, hot. I shouldn't really expect anything else. It is Waco and it is September. I ran twenty miles this afternoon. No, wait, that was my roommate Tom. I ran a mile and a half this afternoon. Seeing the mailman making his way down Austin and having a bill that is due, I ran into the house to quickly write a check and put it in an envelope. As I was writing, and trembling from the run and subsequent shock of being in the air conditioning, I noticed a steady stream of sweat rushing from my face down to my checkbook, soaking it and frustrating my attempts at getting this done quickly.

Wait, why am I telling you this? Oh, yeah. It's hot. Real hot.

But soon and very soon the heat will remain in September and October will usher in the possibility cooler temperatures. This is what I'm looking forward to.

There's nothing better in my book than fall. Winter is nice. Summer is unbearable, especially for us bigger people. Spring, in Texas, is almost nonexistent.

But fall.
Long Sleeve T-Shirts.
People's decreased inhibitions in sharing feelings.
How every holiday in which people gather together is followed by another, just around the corner.

It's all
About Fall.

Last fall wasn't a package of cookies, though. I look back at last fall and consider several things. One, I see a pivotal time in my emotional and spiritual life. Two, I see how God's grace and my worship and prayer can occur almost unconsciously, unseen until months, possibly years later.

Last fall I realized that this city I began hating had a grip on me, and it didn't look like escape was in sight.

Last fall I began to realize how serious my financial obligations that extend for several years is.

Last fall, as a corallary to the previous, I realized that returning to school is a long way off, if that.

Last fall I had strained relations with a former employer who I used to be close to.

Last fall I developed a cold, for the first time in many years, that morphed into an upper respiratory infection that caused me to, for the first time in 7 years, go to the doctor, spending many dollars to feel better, making my financial situation even worse.

Last fall I realized that 75% of the people I care about and see on a weekly basis would be gone within two years.

Last fall my grandmother died.

But last fall Grace came in the forms of a phone call from an old friend,a wedding, a little girl and two little boys, a community of faith that is ever changing and ever staying the same, Thanksgiving, a camping trip to the land of my family, and a growing realization that God is much bigger than my ability to understand or to feel.

And because of the events of last fall, the past year has been one in which I've noticed, exponentially, that it really is the little things that seem to be saving me.

Little things.
Knowing the name of the gas station attendant around the corner.
Writing a check to pay a bill, and not worrying about, you know.
That moment by the pool with J. and C. in which moments passed without, and without a need for, words.
Hearing "Whiskey Lullaby" for the first time.
Being at ease with the weird things about my church, like the Freshman Flood that occurs yearly in the fall.
Remembering beautiful things that didn't seem so at the time.
Today, after my run, pulling out a long sleeve shirt and trying it on. You know, just in preparation.

I can feel the breeze a' comin' young people. Can you feel it? Can you feel it?

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