Friday, September 5, 2008

Obsessive-Compulsiveness Goeth Before A Fall

The calendar says that we had a summer, but the weather begs to differ. Delighted as I was to visit my family in Michigan in August, the thought of possibly missing out on two weeks' warmth and sunshine here (because England is gorgeous when it's warm and sunny -- amazingly, breathtakingly gorgeous) did cross my mind. Well, luckily for me and unluckily for the other 60 million residents of the UK, it rained the entire time we were gone. And it's still raining.

Everywhere I go -- to Jack's school, the library, the supermarket, the charity shops -- everyone is complaining about the rain. The reason the British talk about the weather so often, the saying goes, is that there's so very much of it. And today the weather is coming down, down, down.

Autumn is here, or very nearly here. I smelled it in the air a couple days ago, when we woke up to sunshine and the rain stayed away until evening. Hooray! My all-time favorite season! I'm ready to get out in the garden and start the fall process of tidying up the beds, but so far all we've been able to do is talk about getting the patio furniture in the garage, out of the rain. In spite of the dreary 10-day forecast, I hope we have some dry days soon. I just bought some lovely tulip bulbs that I'd love to get in the ground. But for now I'm sitting inside, watching the rain. Enjoying some time alone while Sophie naps. Eating leftover pasta and drinking another diet Coke.

I know, I know! I claimed to be so over it in my last post. You probably saw that coming, didn't you, and yeah, I should have, too. I should have known that I'd be haunted by those four cans of diet Coke in the fridge. That I couldn't just let them sit there until someone, sometime came for dinner or a chat and said, "Forget the tea. What I could really go for is a diet Coke!" That I'd be pushed over the edge of reason by that nagging temptation of Just One More. That then, when only three remained, I'd rationalize how much better it would be to go ahead and finish them all so there wouldn't be any more left to tempt me. That infinitely stronger than the desire for another taste of diet Coke is my craving for neatness. Order. Closure. Control.

I'm glad it's September, not just because the leaves will turn colors soon but also because fall is such a good begin-again time. Summer holidays are over, the kids are back to school and we're getting back into a routine. It's a fresh start in so many ways: I'm setting the alarm so I can have an hour or so to myself in the mornings, which makes an enormous difference in the rest of my days. I'm going through our closets, taking inventory of what doesn't fit and what has hung unworn in the past year or so, gathering clothes for the charity shops. I'm getting back to the gym regularly, building it into my normal schedule.

I love times like this -- taking stock, being intentional, feeling motivated. Reminding myself what's real and what isn't. Choosing to relax (or even just consciously choosing to want to relax) into the moment, rather than just trying to get through it. Choosing to let go of some things I've tried too hard to hold onto. Times like this help soothe that inner part of me that cries out to be productive in order to feel purposeful. Times like this help me regroup and remember what's worthwhile and what... isn't.

After reconnecting with my family and with various long-lost friends who passed through London over the summer, my soul feels full enough and my mind is at peace enough to settle back into our little family's business-as-usual.

Fall is on our doorstep. Which means that winter is next, the season that challenges me mentally, emotionally and spiritually like nothing else. In spite of that, and in spite of the absence of a proper summer season, I look out at the rain today and feel optimistic. It's only weather. I can't control it, but there are plenty of other things I can control -- like being more honest, lowering my expectations of myself and not taking myself or my moods too seriously. That and, by God's grace, dealing with one day at a time.

I won't get it perfect, but that's okay. I don't need to. I do need to keep my eyes on Him. I need to trust Him. And I need to rest in the confidence that He is, ultimately, in control.
* * * * * * *
Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always. (Psalm 105:4 NIV)

Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1)

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)


Anonymous said...

Always enjoy your blog when I check it, dear friend. Often your entries have helped me to verbalize/process in a good way some of my own thoughts/feelings about circumstances/situations I'm facing at the moment. You always were such a good writer. To put thoughts "on paper" in a non-jumbled up way is very difficult for me. :) Hugs to you....Jewel

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Loved your post! You scribe so well I almost feel there with ya! I do feel some of the same feelings as "where has summer gone"!? Peace. xo LM

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