An Autumn of Abandon

This evening, I started up a batch of bone broth in the big stockpot.


Tomorrow there will be soup: savory and clear, with just a squeeze of lemon, and full of the macaroni and vegetables that the girls love so much.

Y sniffed the air when he walked through the door, and commented on how good it smelled. The scent of that simmer has been a comfort in itself for the last four hours, and it’s managed to waft into every room, but I don’t mind.

This aroma is making me think of cooking with apples and pumpkins, of baking bread in the Dutch oven, of having a hot stew going at the back of the stove for half a day. Suddenly I’m looking forward to our somewhat-annual hunt for golden aspen groves, and to holding small mittened hands on windy Autumn days.

These flashes come unbidden, but they are a welcome breath of air on what would have been my dour ante-Autumn outlook of school day rushes and virus season.

Tomorrow has enough trouble of its own. Living out this knowledge requires more bravery than I once thought it did: to know reality, and the limits of our days, but to forbid it from choking our joy. Our Joy will remain whole even if all the apples rot and the pumpkin vines wither and the bread burns and the children have endlessly runny noses, or worse; Christ is our Joy, and our stories are made complete in His greater one.

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
– Habakkuk 3:17-18, NIV. 

This truth, kept as close to the center of our home as I can place it, offers to turn everything else into a paean. Fear would keep us from embracing the good things, slyly insinuating that there is always a price to pay; Joy reminds us that we belong to the country and kingdom of God, and that our ticket, citizenship, and certificate of adoption are out of the reach of harm. We would be granted the grace to worship at a sick bedside, and so we will find the gratitude to worship standing before scrumptious broth on the stove.

So tonight we smiled at our children dancing with utter abandon under the blue stars projected on Lucy’s ceiling. Lucy spins and whirls her gladness; Little Jo has a special rapid stomping jig that she puts to the tune of her own chant: “Sa, sa, sa!” (Star, star, star!).

Yes — abandon might be a good anchor word for this soul who has met God so often in a strong wind. I’m praying that my daily joy will stay rooted in our King, as staunch as the trees that will endure through October gales and the long winter frost. It will outlast hardships there.

Then these arms, unburdened of worry, will be freer to lean into His strength and to roll up their sleeves for service — and these unclouded eyes will more clearly behold the tender glory reflected in the colder seasons.

And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and what’s to come
You are Autumn

– Nichole Nordeman, “Every Season.”