Why does chilly weather always make me think?

I simultaneously love and hate that I am so introspective. I delight in “discovering” things about myself (which makes me sound really egocentric), but I hate that I obsess over my faults and weaknesses, and constantly try to come up with formulas or solutions to make myself the person I want to be. Lately I’ve learned to just accept myself and what my personality is—to embrace the fact that I am a sensitive person who is also, as one relative put it, “formidable.” I like how God made me and I don’t want to pressure myself into being something or somebody else. Even if it ultimately alienates me from some, if there’s anything I’ve learned in life, especially in the past year, I know that true friends will never find a reason to cut me out of their lives.

Fall isn’t quite here yet, but I feel like it is. I’m wearing a sweater and it’s gloomy outside. The days are getting shorter and school is back in session. I’m thinking more and more frequently about apple cider and pumpkin carving. I’m trying to decide how I’m going to make Kyrie’s Halloween costume, and if Antonio could get away with being a giraffe two years in a row. Fall always makes me think. It makes me think about death and dying and it makes me think about eternity. It makes me feel a little unsteady because it always seems to come with a million changes. This year a dear friend is moving away. I am going to miss her and her family very much, but I’m also so happy for her that I can’t be too sad for myself. Young people from our church have gone back to college. Families have relocated. New programs and activities are developing and the pace of life is changing.

At this time last year, a friend and I were going through a conflict. It was about my husband, and I had discovered that their family had misjudged his character. I never anticipated that it would result in the end of our friendship. At first, shortly after the friendship had fallen apart, I wondered if maybe I should have tried to see their perspective more. But the more I think about it, the more I know that I am actually more reasonable of a wife than many wives—if anything, I am too willing to try to see the perspective of someone who has something negative to say about someone I love, because I fear being blind and biased about anyone. Now I realize that I would have had much greater regret over not defending my husband’s character than the regret I might have felt for defending it too blindly. Even though I still love that person and her family, I don’t really know how we could have continued on with a healthy friendship anyway. I fought too long for something that clearly wasn’t something I should have fought for. It may take a long time before the hurt from that has gone completely away, but I can say that the anger I once felt is gone. I look at Rick and see that he really doesn’t let people’s opinions of him discourage him. He has a confidence in God’s love for him and it helps him push through. I think that it’s the very fact that he has never attributed any “goodness” to himself in the first place that people’s criticisms of his character don’t damage him in the way they damage me.

Even though the return of the season has brought back some memories from last year, I am thankful to say that it hasn’t spoiled this season for me one bit. I am still just as delighted to think of autumn approaching. And I am grateful that my friendships are dearer and healthier than they were last year—something I didn’t believe would happen for me. But God is good.

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