Sometimes I feel like I’m overly emotional. I mean, yes, I am a woman enduring cyclical hormones, but still, I don’t know how many people tear up at the sight of a lovely old tree or because painfully beautiful harmonies envelop them in church. Maybe it’s gratitude or, I hope, a tender heart, but either way, it has me reaching for my sunglasses. No need for my kids to see the waterworks and start to think that I’m dealing with a bad case of gout or some other unspoken rashy inflammation.
Today we went to our favorite apple orchard and soaked in the gorgeous pre-autumnal air like starfish welcoming back the evening tides. The sky stretched out in brilliant blue with clouds ornamenting the expanse. Apple trees bent under the weight of their fruit, giving and giving and giving still more to deers that will arrive to scavenge the ground at dusk. In long shirt sleeves and jeans we were warm under the sun, but cool enough to sense fall awaiting its turn to trumpet onto the pages of a new calendar month. It was exactly. perfect.
As we walked together through two different orchards, I felt such a deep sense of gratitude. Such a profound thankfulness that we were able to experience this beautiful day together. To be outside, to smell the fresh air–and later–pies baking. To take in the grandeur of nature’s palate. I found myself thinking,
How many children never know the carefree joy of running through rows and rows of apple trees?
How many–young or old–are confined to their homes and are not outside to drink in this Indian Summer sunshine?
How many innocent little lives are tucked away in brothels and slums, who know only the stench of a dirty city and the fear of a life going to waste?
With sunglasses safely on, I could feel a flash of sadness rise up inside me. Tears filling my eyes. It’s a strange thing, this mix of gratitude and deep sadness.
Passing time together as a family, being thankful, seeing God revealed in Creation–it was church in my heart. It was the kind of day I wish I could bottle up and save for deep January when the snows are unleashed from their heavenly hiding place. It was the kind of day that reminds me of God’s goodness. Of his gifts, all around us, freely given. It reminds me of grace. That for absolutely no reason–No reason–He saw fit to invite me to delight in Him with dust on my shoes and the fruity sweetness of a picked apple still resting on my tongue.
What a gift. What a lesson in gratitude.