I couldn’t help but notice, as I made my way to Indiana at the beginning of this month, and then home again, that not only were the trees still all vibrantly green, but the sky still held that deep, summer blue it gets in July. I mention this today because that trip was not so long ago.
And then, just last Wednesday—a week to the day after I came home from my trip—I was driving to have lunch with a friend who lives in a rural area not so far away from where I grew up. And as I drove, I noticed the trees were beginning to turn to their autumn colors. Some had traces of orange, some of yellow and red. But it was more than a couple trees here and there, and it was for the entire 25-mile drive.
There are a lot of things I don’t understand in this life. I don’t understand how the days can be slow and fast at the same time. And I don’t understand how the trees can begin to go from vibrant green to twinges of fall colors in so short a space of time—especially when we haven’t even had a frost yet.
The sad truth is that the older I get the less I realize I know.
I truly enjoyed my time away the first week of September. Despite the glitch of having to get a new battery for my car at the last minute, I consider my solo excursion to have been a success. The lady in the box, aka my GPS, got me there and back without a problem. As for the visit itself, I was so happy to reconnect with a woman I greatly admire. Other people talk of being brave and exuding dignity, but my friend, author Kennedy Layne lives it every single day of her life. She’s overcome challenges many can’t conceive of, and now, having done so, has found her happy-ever-after, and is reaping the benefits of having lived and walked in faith.
That’s not to say the challenges have ended. The truth is that life is a series of challenges for us all, challenges that exist for the sole purpose of our overcoming them. We never know when or from where these challenges will spring. But they’re certain to find us. Our growth as human beings—our growth in character and our growth in faith—relies on these challenges being a constant factor in our lives, and in our efforts to face and surmount them.
A life lived in a bubble, with nothing to challenge the mind, the will or the soul—in short, a life without challenges, would be boring in the extreme. Living our lives day by day, where one day is the same as the next and the next, would seem long, and a punishment of sorts, were it not for the challenges that appear before us, from time to time.
Life can be hard. It can sometimes seem as if you can’t catch a break, or even as if no one knows or cares what you’re going through. There may even be days when you break down in sobs so soul-deep, so wretched, that you think nothing will ever be right again.
But it will be, I promise. It won’t be the exact same as what was, because along with challenges, the other constant in life is change.
Things will get better. Because the truth is that while challenges come to you, and to me, and to everyone, they don’t come to stay.
They come to pass.