If the last time I wrote was an Ode to October, then this entry is an "O. D." of October. We just can't seem to get enough of all this month has to offer, and have packed all the possible festivities into the daily-ness of life. Just tonight Trevor and I took a brisk walk in the fall foliage and then went to Sam's Club to stock up on apple cider - you know, the really good and cloudy kind, 4 gallons worth to be exact. Last weekend we celebrated the season with dear friends over a variety of chili and spirits. Today I took a note to myself to keep an eye on the local pumpkin vendor, remembering that a year ago I caught him on the clearance closing day, getting a steal of a deal on corn husks and pumpkins and mums and squash. Now that I think of it, I find myself lately remembering a lot about "a year ago this time" - memories of painting with a dear friend who no longer lives here, going to NY for my work's national conference, being welcomed into the youth group ministry by a couple who have become kindred spirits and phenomenal friends. And I find myself looking forward to the traditions to soon follow, having my parents here for a visit, going home to Bismarck for Thanksgiving and the essential Turkey Trot.
As I write, my brother and hub are playing video games, and I'm enjoying the background hum of music and laughter that's sending me into a stream of thankfulness for the happenings of the past couple weeks. Something I want to remember always about this month is a concert we went to a couple weeks ago - we went with our youth group, friends, and brothers . . . the featured bands were Jars of Clay, Robert Robinson & The Family Band, Switchfoot, & Third Day. The evening was nothing short of a spiritual experience, and one that was precious to undergo with people we enjoy & love. I was especially inspired by the bands' example of using their fame and giftings for a Higher purpose, for God's glory. On top of that (well, there really is no top to that, but in addition) all the proceeds from this tour went to Habitat for Humanity.
Pretty sure I listened to Third Day's "Revelation" about 100 times the week after the concert. I forgot how powerful it can be to see live music, to feel the beat throughout your body, to sing with a crowd, to see the visuals behind the stage, the lights, the sensory impact. And really, I think just sitting in a place where all you can do is listen can be so powerful. The night brought Joy in the C.S. Lewis sense of the word - a glimpse of Heaven, a longing for so much more, a reminder that there IS more. Now that I think of it, one of Switchfoot's songs aptly states, "we were meant to live for so much more . . . we have more than this world has to offer . . . " So true, and I believe our heart's yearnings speak to that reality.
The rest of that weekend was also precious, as Trev's bro "T" was staying with us - we enjoyed fall's peak by sitting on the patio for a couple hours, driving to a nearby lake for a dinner at Noodles, and our brothers trying out a well-known church in the area. It's a gift to see our brothers be such close friends - and true brothers, if not by blood, then certainly by hearts. It's hard to believe that Trevor has known my brother since "D" was 12! And that I've known Trev's bro "T" since he was 10. Wow.
Also significant (in the most insignificant way) to the past few weeks has been a reminder of why Trevor and I felt we had to give up DVD's for a couple months last winter: The Office. Oh, it seems so harmless and funny, that is until we start talking about the characters like they actually live next door. Until we have almost nothing to talk about except Jim, Pam, Dwight, Michael - all the relationships, pranks, quotes. Probably the rock bottom was when we actually got "caught up" by watching 9 episodes on an absolutely beautiful Sunday. As if that weren't enough, we literally felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Yeah, it's good that it's over. I'm a little embarrassed about this paragraph, but I highly value transparency. We did, however, make it to church that day, and I left feeling the possibility that life holds, and the gift that each day is. I felt a distinct longing to not live a "status quo" life, but to live adventurously and on purpose. To chase dreams that are insurmountable, to set goals in light of God's power, to not be afraid of failure.
I'd feel remiss to not allude to the crisis our country is facing in the economical sense - I find myself getting anxious about it all, but by the grace of God set before me in amazing and wise examples of faith-filled reactions, I'm reminded that every trial offers opportunity. Opportunity for us to show and receive grace, help, and perspective. Opportunity to show where our lives' foundation really lies. Opportunity to trust and to persevere. You good examples out there know who you are, I hope, and I thank you for being real and honest and gracious.
With that, I think I'll ode and O.D. on November, too, and looking forward to it all.