When my children were small, we bought them Fischer-Price cameras that did nothing but click. Truly a point-and-click experience for them. No photo emerged. Nothing digital happened. Toddlers pretended to take pictures and were content to pretend.
Things are different now. Yesterday afternoon my youngest grandson came out to our property with his momma to pick apples. I wanted to capture what we used to call a Kodak moment, so I pulled out my smartphone and took photos of the loaded apple trees, Grandpa and Josh on the four-wheeler pulling the trailer with baskets of apples, milkweed pods spewing their clouds of seeds like snow. Do they make silk from milkweed seed tufts?
Josh piped up, "I can take good pictures."
"I'm sure you can, honey."
So I loaned him the phone, reminded him to keep his fingers away from the lens, and marveled at the excellent pictures he took of "colorful things."
We found one colorful thing that I couldn't resist pointing out to him. The blueberry bushes, long empty of fruit, were ablaze with a wild combination of burgundy, bright red, claret, and green. A completely different bush than they had been just a few months earlier.
What had been deep green leaves with greenish-white berries that turned pink, then lavender, then blue, then almost purple when ripe was now a firebush of color. 'Tis the season. And it looks completely different now.
Marriage, friendship, work, writing go through seasons that may look completely unlike what we envisioned or what seemed normal even a few months prior. We're contract-less...or loaded with deadlines. We're in a frenzy to send proposals...or in the waiting stage. We're disciplined to a well-protected writing schedule...or we're snatching tidbits of time between physical therapy appointments.
The blueberry bush turned firebush reminded me that different doesn't have to be a disappointment. Look how stunningly beautiful it is now, even when fruitless. I wonder if God tries to get that same message across to us about seasons in our writing lives or our lives in general. "Stop and look around. Is there beauty in this season that looks so different than what you thought it would?"
I don't have to wonder. He did say that. Through His servant Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter three. It's a passage that writers-in-waiting--whether deadline-rich or contract-less--parents, couples, friends, laborers, followers of Jesus Christ could draw comfort from, if they soaked in the meaning.
"There's a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens: a time for giving birth and a time for dying, a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted, a time for killing and a time for healing, a time for tearing down and a time for building up, a time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing..." Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, CEB.
Seasons change. We're blessed with deadlines or we're blessed with space.
I'm framing the image of the blueberry bush to remind myself to enjoy the season, no matter how it's dressed.
What season of life or schedules that looked so completely different to you proved to have its own beauty when you looked more closely? Tell us about it and what you learned.
Cynthia Ruchti is an author and speaker just emerging from a heavy travel schedule into an at-home schedule with breathing room...and deadlines. Two of her latest Abingdon Press books carry themes of the unexpected: the novel When the Morning Glory Blooms and the nonfiction Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People's Choices. This week, she turned in galley edits for a novel releasing in spring of 2014 and is rejoicing over the opportunity to have been one of several authors whose devotions appear in Guidepost's Mornings With Jesus 2014, which recently released.