The final weekend in September brought some wonderful moments to celebrate the gift and beauty of life. First, late Thursday night there was the birth of my great-nephew Peter, the second child of my very dear niece Rachel. Welcome to the world, precious one!
Then on Saturday we had an opportunity to be at the 2nd birthday party of Lydia, the youngest daughter of a dear family that has done a wonderful job taking care of our own daughter one morning each week for the past several months (since I had to go back to work in the mornings). Lydia is one of the loveliest little people we know, a tiny little girl with bright eyes and a smile that lights a room. She was gravely ill when just a few weeks old, and so each time I see her, I see not just beautiful Lydia but the beautiful God who shines through her -- a sure and certain sign of God's grace and power to heal. Watching her bat at a butterfly balloon, smear yellow icing all over her face, and climb happily into the big tub of uncooked rice that some of the other kids were playing with (including my own Sweet Girl, who must've spent an hour or more funneling rice into a cup!) was a privilege and a joy.
There are days when you really do remember how precious each moment of life is, when your heart lifts and you rest in love, aware of God's goodness and the fragile but awesome beauty all around. I think our whole family was a bit giddy with autumn this evening. We took a walk and Sweet Girl, perched up on her Daddy's shoulders, positively beamed up at the changing colors of the leaves and the blue and white expanse stretched like a tent above them. And she asked us: "What would you need to sit on to touch the sky?"
Later this evening we took a picnic to the park where I got about twenty precious minutes of alone time to walk, marvel at the setting sun, and even stand briefly beneath one of my favorite tree for miles around -- an oak tree on a hill with branches that bend so low to the ground you can hide under them and peer out as though through a curtain. Early autumn colors have their own distinct beauty, even though they've not flamed into the brighter "peak" colors. When we think of autumn we think of brilliant red, gold, orange...but tonight I saw greyish-lavendar, mauve, saffron, pale burgundy, pink, cantelope (the setting sun behind the clouds!) and everywhere, dots of white weeds on the roadside -- wild daises, queen anne's lace, dandelions gone to seed.
"Thank you, God, for most this amazing day...."