There is an entire year in my life when I didn’t decorate my home, and that year was 2007. My first husband and I divorced and no matter what the circumstances, when a marriage crumbles and a family fragments a darkness descends. It is an experience I would not wish upon my worst my enemy. I experienced situational depression that year. Everything moved in slow motion and it seemed completely impossible to just put one foot in front of another. The joy evaporated. I lost 20 pounds seemingly overnight. I just needed to get through each day, take care of my children and try to make sense of a future that now seemed like a dark black unknown hole. The last thing on my mind was decorating anything.
What I remember about that fall 11 years ago is that it wasn’t about fall decor, pumpkins or seasonal pillows. My clearest fall memory of 2007 is sitting on my patio and slowly realizing that all my potted flowers were dead. The flowers I had meticulously picked out that spring and planted with joy as I welcomed summer, now dry and brown and withered. I had forgotten all about them. How could I have become so filled by sadness that I had neglected them? The tears came. This season of death and distraction seemed to inundate every aspect of my days.
And then I felt the message, “You can plant new ones next spring. All things will be new again.” I didn’t actually hear the words but it was as clear to me as if I had. Seasons are fleeting, my soul nudged me to remember. After a good cry, I got some tissues and blew my nose and resolved to myself that even though I knew the darkness was here now, it would quietly leave eventually. This was but a season and it would not be indefinite. Hope. A little glimmer of it sparkled briefly, but it was enough. I trusted. Yes, new flowers will bloom in the spring.
Eleven years later I am here to tell you that if you happen to be in a dark season, and the flowers of your life have died, new ones will bloom again. It is apparent that my fog did lift, healing unfolded and life went forward. Children grew, old hurts were forgiven and then forgotten. New adventures, a new marriage, and new joy seeped into the cracks until they were smoothed over and completely resolved. That dark season evaporated like the melting snow. I’ve had ten more summers since then and my patio not only overflows with potted flowers but is a sanctuary where friends and family gather to create memories. I did decorate again and my outdoor space, flowers and yard bring me great joy once more.
My outdoor spaces have always been my haven. Back in my apartment dwelling days I always had two chairs on my cramped deck space and at least one pot of geraniums. Growing up on the prairie, my molecules require fresh air, dirt and an unobstructed view of the sky. Our current home came with a nice sized patio, beautiful pergola and it is an extension of our living space as long as Mother Nature allows.
We enjoy bonfires under the stars in the rock fire pit my husband built, or a glass of wine next to the fire table with friends. (This is my best friend, Nicole, isn’t she a cutie? She is a teacher so late summer afternoons we definitely try to sneak in girl time!)
Our teenagers hang out here with friends or on their own to draw or read a book. And all family members enjoy catching a nap when we can in the hammock under the willow tree.
Our patio furniture is dated and worn, the pillows mismatched, slightly faded or chewed on from our dogs. My sofa is missing its back cushions and interim blue pillows that will do for now fill the gap. Our fire table was on sale so is a little tacky but what does that matter on cool summer nights when I sit across from my husband and watch him smoke a cigar in the fire light and fall in love with him all over again as his eyes crinkle up and his muscles relax after a long day.
What matters most of all is that the flowers are exploding in bloom all around us in this season of light.
The hummingbirds visit daily and the garden provides.
Grilled hamburgers are on the menu at least once a week and enjoyed with family and friends at our backyard table.
Speaking of friends, my ex husband is now one of them as is his wife and their precious daughter. We hosted a backyard BBQ on the 4th of July and they were at the top of the guest list. Talk about seasons changing and happiness blooming! Here they are, right here in our backyard enjoying it with all of us this summer.
So take heart, if life is heavy right now and your flowers are all dead and you could care less about the things you used to, this is but a season. This too, shall pass. Just as winter cannot keep its grip indefinitely, the shadows of life will wear out their welcome and the sun and flowers and birds all return in glory; the promise of newfound hope and joy is always fulfilled if you simply hold on.
Peace, Joy and Blessings!
* my daughter and inspiration for this post*
Weeping may stay the night, but joy comes in the morning.