In Quotes

“How beautifully the leaves grow old! How full of light and color are their later days!”

{John Burroughs}

fall tree 1

I found this quote at the back of a magazine last week as I waited in the doctor’s office on a gorgeous autumn morning.   Among others sitting in the room with me were several elderly people and, looking around at their faces, I thought about how each of them had a name and a story all their own.  They’ve celebrated many birthdays and no doubt earned every wrinkle around their eyes and each gray hair on their head.   They’ve seen countless sunrises and an equal number of sunsets; known ups and downs, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, companionship and loneliness.   And I found myself hoping this quote described them too.

Then my thoughts wandered to my parents.  Mind if I tell you a little about them?  Their names are Paul and Vivian and we’ll be celebrating their birthdays soon.  Dad will be 90 in a couple of months, and mom, who was born in March, turns 88 next year.  For the past 66 years they’ve been a perfect example of  “opposites attract” and they adore each other.  They lived abroad for more than half of those years; never accumulated many possessions; and found joy in building a home full of adventure, books, music, and creativity for me and my four siblings, no matter where on the globe we happened to be.  There was no shortage of love.  elderly couple walkingDad and Mom have known the grief of losing a child and the happiness found in improving the lives of young people for whom opportunities were few.  There’s always been room for one more around the table and they’ve lived their lives looking outward. 

My parents’ accomplishments are many and their life experiences rich.  But if you ask them why this season, the fall of their lives, is full of light and color, without a doubt they’ll tell you it has less to do with any of those things and everything to do with one abiding constant — the faithfulness of God that has given them vitality, joy, and purpose.   It’s woven throughout conversations with grand kids and neighbors and strangers alike. They’ll be the first to tell you they’ve made their share of mistakes, or have felt inadequate for the task at hand, or at times found it hard to be brave.  That life hasn’t always been fair and disappointments have been plenty.  But that underneath it all are the everlasting arms of the One who has faithfully remained by their side in both blessing and testing.  What more could we hope for as we watch them continue to flourish!  I think they’d say these words pretty much sum it up.

Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine
Season by season I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me.

I can’t remember a trial or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can’t remember one single regret
In serving God only, and trusting His hand
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me.

This is my anthem, this is my song
The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful, He’s always been faithful
He’s always been faithful to me.

single fall leaf

There’s so much to learn from the wisdom and maturity of men and women whose faith has sustained them all along the way.   We’re enriched when we appreciate their great worth and gain invaluable insight when we listen with our hearts.   But, as I was reminded in the waiting room, we’re each on our own journey unique to us.  And, at the end of the day, it will be shaped in large part by the view we hold of the One who holds us.

In years to come, when spring seems like a life-time ago and the glow of summer has faded, I hope fall will be the best of all; full of beauty, light, and color because of His great faithfulness.

Love, D.

Hymn: “He’s Always Been Faithful”.  Songwriters: Sara Groves / Thomas O. Chisholm / William M. Runyan