November has never been my favourite month. Around here most of the leaves have fallen, days are shorter, and the world tends to look dull and grey. There is beauty, though, if one has eyes to see: so much beauty, even in November.
This has been a strange month, with my computer away for repairs, then a bad cold which turned into pneumonia (from which I’m still recovering), but just as I was about to go to bed I realized that I hadn’t posted all month … so here are a quick couple of thoughts before it’s December …
This morning I saw a woman at church who looked familiar, but my fuzzy brain couldn’t place her. I thought I might know where I knew her from, but perhaps she didn’t hear what I’d suggested or maybe I’d misspoken … We looked at each other and chatted, trying to figure it out together until finally she remembered with certainty, and so did I. She looked different to me, with that hat she was wearing and being out of context and all, but it wasn’t until this evening that I realized I look very different now myself.
My children are a couple of years older, much bigger, and more mature (most of the time!). My hair is much darker now, with small silver streaks, and quite curly (!) in recent months. I tend to move more slowly, stiffly, and navigate stairs with difficulty. I lean or slouch more when I sit, and standing up after sitting for a while takes determination! Today was a tough day: I was very tired and my joints hurt. For a few moments I didn’t think I’d be able to put my jacket on after church because my shoulders were so stiff and sore. I have not regained much of the muscle mass I had lost, in spite of my hard work: so often it seems like one step forward, two steps back. My body is still quite puffy from steroids and chemo, and when I looked in the mirror I realized it’d be easy to not recognize me, especially if it had been more than a year.
Inwardly I’ve changed too … living more in the present rather than the future, learning to look more intently and appreciatively, and greatly increasing the proportion of prayer time spent in thanksgiving. I was always so active and busy multi-tasking. Now I’m slow and learning to be more prayerful. I’m trying to listen more for what to pray about, and I think I’m growing in this – praise God. These inward changes are more important to me than the outward ones, and I am so grateful for the beauty of these good gifts.
I say with the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 4), “Though my outer person is decaying, my inner person is being renewed day by day.” I know this is by the grace and power of God, and I give thanks!
How are you changing – both outwardly and inwardly? Do you have eyes to see beauty even in the midst of difficult times? What could you give thanks for right now?