Things You Learn When God Places You in a New Season.
In the fall of 2015, I kept my Bible - an old Bible with extremely weathered pages that curled up around each other - open on a stand to one chapter: Ecclesiastes 3, where the first verse says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” At the time, I needed to believe in the idea of seasons: the idea that time continued moving but the seasonal activities would change. I needed to believe that seasons could teach us a lesson, but that there was also value in them ending, value in moving on.
That was easy to believe in fall, when the trees look like fire and the blanket scarves come out of their hibernation. Fall is a season that makes moving on feel a little easier to me, because the leaves just fall so gracefully. Fall makes moving on - embracing change, endings, and even the chillier weather - look beautiful.
It is stranger to believe this in spring, a season where I feel like Canada collectively holds their breath, thinking, “Spring can’t actually be here” and “If I wear my flip flops, it’s like I’m asking for snow to come.” But spring ventures into our lives slowly, coaxing and instilling a belief in the idea that days filled with sunshine that it can exist - however briefly - in our lives. New things blossom in spring, which is why it is interesting to be moving into a new season, both literally and metaphorically.
This spring has been a season filled with tying up loose ends and leaving places and saying goodbyes to head on to new beginnings, which feel like contradictory things to experience in a season where everything is new and blooming around me. Maybe not. This spring season saw me write my final exams, finish up work at a workplace I’ve worked for four consecutive years, move out of downtown Toronto, FINALLY become eligible to graduate. And, in the new beginning department, this season saw me move 3409 kilometres away for the summer.
That is not a big deal for many people, because they spend their summers frolicking and adventuring around. But for me, it’s the first different and new thing I’ve done in a long time. I’m interning for a Christian organization in Edmonton’s inner city, which feels like a return to a lot of my passions and interests that I’ve been pushing to the side for a long time. I’ve only been here for a few days, and I haven’t even started my placement yet, but it feels like home already.
Anyways, I’ve been trying to avoid reflecting on these seasonal changes, because I’m not sure how my heart feels about anything yet - it’s happy and then oddly numb and then all of the things, but here is a list of some of the things I’ve learned in this seasonal transition thus far.
I. Altitude changes and adjusting to dry climates means you will utilize all the chapstick and all the cream. Nobody likes chapped lips and nobody likes the pain that accompanies chapped lips - I think that is something the universe can agree on.
II. You may not find your place in the world directly after graduation. I think my expectation was that, as soon as I graduated, I would know exactly what my life was supposed to look like. I would know where I fit into the world. LOLZ. Instead, I’m more confused than ever. My life feels like one giant I DON’T KNOW & I am trying to understand that uncomfortableness, while not running away from it.
III. I’m very unsure of how to discern God’s calling for my life, (and I’ve taken zero theology classes, so I’m pretty sure this is not the most refined method of discernment,) but I try to pay extra attention to goosebumps that are not induced by coldness, to the things that I ask questions about, & to the things my heart cannot shake off. I was brought to this season because I paid attention to those things, and I’m trying to also lean into that discernment. (That being said, yesterday I got goosebumps when someone said the word ‘bacon’ but I am 100% positive that was not God’s calling for my life, I just really love bacon.)
IV. Edmonton has trees & you may not realize you are a person who gets excited by trees until you are driving around Edmonton, in slack jawed awe of all the nature surrounding you!
V. Have grace for expiration dates. We keep joking that a part of this internship is learning about how to have grace for expiration dates, because we are eating a lot of non-perishable food items with some questionable expiration dates. That being said, I like the saying of, “Have grace for expiration dates” because to me, it speaks to not giving up on people. It speaks to staying patiently and not running away. & I am always in the process of learning that, but with some of the work I’ll be engaging in this summer, it sounds like I’ll be learning that over and over again.
VI. Yegdt is not a Dutch word, it’s just a hashtag for downtown Edmonton.
VII. Moving and boxes and packing and leaving is hard; having good people alongside the journey makes it really worthwhile. I’ve never had more appreciation for my mom than when she drove the Safari van downtown to load up me and all my boxes, vacuumed my room, and bought me a sausage at Costco before we drove home.
VIII. Time zones are weird. I’m just going to say what we’re all thinking - time zones are a weird, abstract concept that just feel weird. I keep forgetting that most of my family and friends live at a different time than me, and I get confused when my social media feeds get very quiet after 9:30 pm. Who knew two hours is such a long time?! IX. Things really do blossom in new seasons. & not just cherry blossoms, but other things as well. Like your heart, & your passions. The thing about spring is that things blossom for a hot second, and then they continue to move on, they continue to grow into something else. I like that analogy a lot for life right now. I like that a lot a lot.