More than four decades ago, when my wife and I learned that we were expecting our first child, we initially kept our news a secret, just between the two of us. This special knowledge drew us closer together in a mix of joy, anxiety, and need for mutual support.
Many years ago, I listened to a university graduate reflect on his graduation. He observed that as significant as the commencement ceremony had been, the meaning felt real when he turned in his dormitory room key. It was then that he realized his time as a student had passed. It was now time to unlock, to commence his future.
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Where I live, each of the four seasons presents beautiful testimony to the glory of creation. It is now approaching mid-Autumn. Oak leaves, golden brown, brilliant red, glowing yellow, and all the hues in between, are beginning to flutter down into the yard and garden. The trees are refocusing their energy on the next seasonal phase of their lives. God’s creation has an energized liveliness even when branches become bare, anticipating winter’s cold. Life endures.
A good number of years ago, when our first child was born, I can recall we were very attentive to every sound the baby made. After a few months of living with and caring for our new family member, we became better at interpreting the variety of sounds our little one would share with us. Comfort, discomfort, hunger, tiredness, all these had their subtle differences. Of course, sometimes, we had no idea. Babies teach families a lot.
Soon, I will be doing the Autumn clean up of the garden. It is a good time for reflection. One of the perennial delights of our little growing space is the return each summer of the Morning Glories. They climb and cling to the garden fence. The blossoms are shaped like trumpets and are deep violet with a brightly glowing center. Morning Glories seek and reflect the light that gives them life. I think these lovely flowers can teach us something about prayer, and in particular about the Rosary.
In my childhood home, we naturally tried to extend the useful life of things. A worn blanket became batting for a quilt; old tee shirts became cleaning rags and dusters. Clothing was mended, patched, and altered. Shoes were re-soled and re-heeled. Getting as much wear and use as possible from material things that served us was an unspoken value.