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Friday, July 8, 2011

A Self-Inflicted Autumn

Five Minute Friday – The Gypsy Mama invites us to just write, for five minutes, without regard to perfection, and share with one another.  Today’s topic:  Grateful.

Today, it seems, I am channeling fall.

Hot apple cider, fuzzy socks, and pumpkin bread.  If I could get away with it, I’d have worn my scarf and wool skirt.

My husband wonders if I’ve lost my mind, considering it’s the middle of July in the hottest part of the country, ninety-something today, and children all red-faced clomping in and out, swimming goggles plastered to foreheads and sweat matted hairdos, as they carry on their very standard summer business.  Swim.  Laugh.  Sweat.  Hydrate.  Eat.  Work.  Play.  Repeat.

In spring, I felt consumed by an internal winter.  Now here, in this sweltering, sticky heat, this reminiscent girl melts into a self-inflicted autumn.  My hair yellows and skin dries parched, and here I am, a brittle maple leaf drifting downward on an icy breeze, dreaming of yew wood chimney fires and fingerless gloves wrapped around coffee mugs.

Lithia Park, Ashland, Oregon
Growing up in southern California, I never lived a weathered autumn until I moved north as an adult.  Now, it seems, my biological clock aims to make up for lost time, playing tricks with an internal seasonal shift all-wrong for the actual outdoor conditions – a symptom of the chronic homesickness that plagues me.  And I am growing pale and thin with wistfulness, withering under the weight of what ails me.

Oh, wouldn’t it be easier if my affliction was biological?  Perhaps a virus, a bug of some sort, a bone broken instead of a splintered heart.  But there is no pill for nostalgia.  No elixir that will alleviate homesickness.  And I cannot bottle up and swallow down a way through this hurting place.  There is no capsule that will bring me home, not even a dose of cold autumn rain.

Ashland, Oregon

But there is a cure.

I have a Healer and He has given me a prescription.  

It is expensive, and it is free.  

I drink it down and I open my eyes and I take it all in, every bit, and I utter quiet thankyou's and silent wonder for all the gifts around me that my sickness keeps me from seeing.  The cure is the noticing.  It is the breathing in of beauty, in all its forms.  It is loving these hard places, as much as the golden ones.  It is inhaling and exhaling with the knowledge that every single breath is gift.  

The only cure is gratitude.

Scribbled upon this thick and tear-stained prescription pad that is the very Word, He scrawls all over these pages with love’s mighty pen, the tonic to cover my heart with the balm of gratefulness, soothing to all wounds, the very medicine for David and Abraham and all the saints and sinners since:

*All photos but the last are courtesy of Phase4Photography, who does not endorse the opinions or ideas expressed here.* 


  1. Cara,
    Oh my heart breaks with you as I read these words. I love your writing and am so happy we have become blogging friends. You have a wonderful way of expressing your words, and I can't wait to read more. I love the reminder of giving thanks and breathing in the hard places.

    God Bless my friend

  2. Your voice is exquisite!
    I can smell the turning of the leaves even on this swealtering NJ Shore humid day! I can sense the breeze with just a hint of chill for the coming cold...I can hear the soft, yet hightened wind rustling the drying reds, yellows and browns and the fluttering of yesterdays green to the still lush green of the summers carpet!
    Autumn is my favorite season. And God's perscription pad is what remedies the ills in me, too.
    It heals my heart, that the doctors say is hardend, while soothing my Spirit with the truthy of Ezekiel 36:26

    Thank you, thank you and thank you again!

  3. It's been one year since my husband and I moved to Arizona, and even though we're involved in a wonderful church doing youth ministry, I still find myself homesick...on a regular basis. I guess I thought I'd be over it by now, but I deeply miss friends and family in Iowa, and some days, it's just hard. Hard to be grateful for all of our blessings, AND our trials. Thanks for this post, sometimes it's nice to know you're not alone!

  4. Beautifully written. I too could feel autumn as I read your words.

  5. Your pictures made me homesick and your words caused conviction in my soul. I often complain about the heat and humidity in Papua New Guinea where we live, often am homesick for the four season. Often am not grateful for being able to experience this awesome country. There is beauty all around me but when I am in an ungrateful state my eyes are closed to it. This is the hardest place we have ever minister but I know it's the place God placed us. thanks for a touch of fall.

  6. Lovely post. I can too often be looking for the "next thing" and losing the joy in the present. I love all things autumn, and after reading the first few sentences in your post, I was ready to break out my turtleneck!This current season has beauty and value all its own, and I will celebrate today and have hope for tomorrow. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Good gracious. An absolutely beautiful post. Your words evoke amazement.

  8. What beautiful words. Yes, let me open my prescription now and be washed in the water of the Word.
    Thank you for sharing your soul.

  9. What beautiful words. Yes, let me open my prescription now and be washed in the water of the Word.
    Thank you for sharing your soul.


Your comments are such an encouragement. Thank you for sharing your valuable words.