There are shifts and seasons in life. In the midwest, where I grew up, the weather helped reinforce the shift in seasons: the first frost, the first snow, the first thaw, the first buds, the first thunderstorm, the first fall leaves all signaled nonnegotiable change. You can't stop winter from coming.
There are other shifts and seasons that bring delight, and I'm coming out of one right now; from Thanksgiving into Advent. I love the Thanksgiving traditions of food, family, a relaxed schedule, longer conversations, travel (we did it this year). This morning in the church where I baptized Ella and saw the first Advent candle lit, with the tree in place and "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" being sung, and I had to scrape the frost off the window of the car this morning!
But the biggest transition is in my heart, mind, and gut. I'm a grandpa! It happened first with the birth of Elise Johnson and now again with the arrival of Ella Camozzi. When we arrived in St. Paul after a brutally early morning of flying, I saw that little girl and became blind to everything else. Martha and Liz needed to do some shopping and asked if I was OK with taking care of Ella. Duh! That's all I wanted to do. I did not contact old St. Paul or Salem friends, because all I was aware of was that little girl and her parents what's-their-names. I got up early in the morning as is my practice, but when Liz or Jeff came stumbling downstairs with wide-awake Ella, I grabbed her and sent them back to bed. And she and I cuddled and played together till we were interrupted by parents or grandmother.
And I can't wait to get back to California with the prospect of seeing Elise, and taking her to the beach swimming and digging holes in the sand and finding random object that fascinate her. I only wish I was as good a parent as I am a grandparent. It's a good season! Thanks be to God!