Finally wearing the maxi dress that had hung unworn, tags and all, in my closet for years, I slipped into the passenger seat of our beat up car and headed to Pine Hall at Amber Springs where my thirty year high school reunion was being held.
Earlier that day, I’d gone to the hall to fill vases with flowers, creating centerpieces for sixteen tables. I was far more nervous about how my classmates would like the decor than seeing faces from my past.
Seeing old photos, dancing to ’80s music, reuniting with old friends, like I told one of my classmates, make me feel like I was home. There is just something about being with people I grew up with, a class of just over four hundred in a small community on the East side of Houston, that I knew and loved like family, still do, that made me feel like I’d come home.
This reunion was more like a homecoming, really. One that was a respite for my soul.
It was a hot, August afternoon when we wheeled Dad through the front door and into the foyer of his home which he’d been away from for nearly six weeks. The moment he recognized his surroundings, he wept.
I have a feeling he thought we was never going to return and as he looked around to see the family photos displayed around the family room, the flowers he planted visible through the other side of the window, familiarity filled him with relief and joy.
I am certain his homecoming was nurturing to his soul. It was to mine.
A Different Kind of Rest
I walked through the back door weary from spending the night on my Mother’s couch, a stiff ache from lifting dad in and out of the wheelchair taking over my body.
All I wanted to do was take a nap, but as I looked around my home which had been neglected for weeks, rest escaped me.
While I folded clothes, cleared the cluttered countertops and put away dishes, I discovered a different kind of rest.
You see, we live in a busy world but there’s a difference between empty fatigue and gratifying tiredness. ~Eugene Cho
Even so, after spending the Summer planning a reunion in between visits to see Dad and help Mom, I was desperate for a week at the beach. I believed spending as much time as possible sitting beachside would slow me down and be the salve my hurting heart and weary body desperately craved.
One by one, the weeks passed and before I knew it, school started. Not willing to give up, I held out hope for a day trip over Labor Day weekend.
Labor Day came and went.
I grew more resentful of each passing opportunity to load up the car and head to Galveston.
Then Wednesday happened.
As each person in our small group shared their answer to ‘What was the highlight of your Summer’ and ‘Share one way you saw God this Summer’ I noticed a recurring theme; stillness.
Resentment gave way to peace with each story that started and ended with enjoying the beauty of rest. As I listened, I realized rest hasn’t taken up permanent residence at the beach. That, like my friends, my Summer was spent with friends and family, sitting, sharing, laughing, crying, celebrating, dancing, driving, cleaning…living. That all those moments weren’t emptying, but gratifying.
My soul finally stood still long enough to recognize God, in all His glory, was giving me the rest I needed all along.
It was the redemption of Summer.
See you in class,