Summer has hit full swing!
Oh, I know it isn't yet summer by the calendar. But it's here just the same.
John and Joy have already had the youth group over for a pool party. Vacation Bible School starts in two weeks. Travel plans are in place for later. And we are now under the 50-day count for the wedding!
Friends vacationing in Tampa came over to meet us for dinner last night. Such fun! (One of many perks living in the vacation capital of the world during summertime.)
Kristin and Bryan had traveled together in an SEU tour group for two years. Because we were still evangelists at the time, we had opportunity to meet his family.
Seeing them again last night was really a treat. We sat for over two hours talking, laughing, catching up. Of course Kristin came. But Meagan, Spencer and even Joy finally joined us.
All the standard questions flew around the table. "Are you still a surgery nurse?" "Bryan's leading worship at your church now? Oh, wonderful!" "Kristin does children and music? Marvelous!" "Have you ever seen a more beautiful baby than Spencer?" (They assured us they had not! Smile.)
Shared sympathies over losses: Bryan's grandfather/Kristin's grandmother.
Nine of us filled the table and our waitress kept the sweet tea coming. Conversations fluctuated between just two or three people and the entire table at once.
Everything came to a halt when Spencer woke and batted those enormous blue eyes. "Ohhhh!" "He is gorgeous!" "Oh, I can't wait to have grandchildren!" "They are pretty amazing!" "Oh look how he looks at Joy!" "Dimples! He has dimples!"
The men talked over the women as we listened attentively to Meagan's rehearsal of "The Proposal". Romance enthralls women.
We finally decided to move outside to say good-bye. That took another forty-five minutes. Pictures had to be taken. Laughter, of course, accompanied those. There were the normal, "Oh, I meant to ask about...." and "Goodness, I almost forgot to tell you......"
At one point, while everyone was admiring Meagan's engagement ring, I had a moment.
You've had them, right? One of those moments when your heart swells with gratitude and sadness; elation and love? And you somehow know that what you're experiencing is a gift?
I don't understand why we get tears in our eyes at a moment like that. But they did appear!
Mostly, I think all the change of these few months was hitting me in a big way. Other than Bryan's move back to Ohio, not much had changed in the lives of our friends.
Our lives, by contrast.........well, change is our constant companion these days. And I've known for weeks that when summer arrives, a BIG change will occur.
In forty-nine days our baby girl will become Mrs. Smith.
Some may think, "Sheri, you already have one daughter married. This shouldn't be such a big deal for you."
Just as each child is unique, so each marriage brings a seismic shift to the family unit. We only have one "baby daughter" and very soon, her first moniker will be WIFE, not daughter.
It's as it should be, of course. We couldn't be more thrilled that Nathan will be her husband; they are wonderful together.
But that's just it - THEY will be together. And for one more child, we will need to step to the background of their lives and hearts. "The new has come, the old must pass away." A necessary transition, but not an easy one at all! (Deep cleansing sigh.)
So when the tears spring to my eyes these early days of summer - and they frequently do - I try to rehearse the blessings.
Meagan has found her soul-mate and he loves God as deeply as she does. They make each other laugh. Their extended families get along well - huge plus! They both understand hard work, fidelity, honesty. Life will be good.
They will produce grandchildren! (Not right away, of course. But I can already see little ones with big green eyes and halos of curly blond hair.)
These are the things I'm rehearsing for myself a lot these days. Every little cloud of sadness does indeed contain a silver lining. I just have to reach up and twist that sucker inside out! Smile.
The summer has arrived. I will choose to embrace the joys of visitors and changes and bright days. Knowing that the dark clouds can not hide the silver linings I uncover!