A few weeks apart

Ladybean Tabatha turned our calendar pages from May to June on the day I’m writing this. It arrived so fast. One day I noticed the first robin shivering on the grass, then a batch of newly hatched tent caterpillars on the flowering plum, and after that, barely-there buds on the lilacs.

Today, whole gangs of robins harvest our generous crop of earthworms with brutal tenacity. The white lilac bushes have set up their perfume factory, pushing out a far sweeter fragrance than a shelf of Febreeze. And, glory hallelujah, we won the war against our yard’s tent caterpillars. The burgundy plum has a bumper crop of burgundy blossoms – and in each a bee, buzzing.

Our yard gets noisy in spring, even without our nearby grandbeans. Add a half-dozen of those and it sounds like a carnival. That’s what we listened to most evenings this week, on and off. Inside, the house reflects that. Tub toys litter the bathtub. The large dollhouse built decades ago for their mother, has centre stage in the living room. Craft remnants cover the dining table. The banjo is out, and Curious George books pile in a substantial stack on the couch.

But the Beans have all gone. Even with nature’s noise, it feels quiet. Not in a bad sense. A sort of expectant sense. June 1st, today, marked the day their family would embark on their Great Adventure. A four-month sabbatical from their usual work.

A few hours ago, after protracted good-byes, tight hugs, repeated cries of “We’ll miss you!”and a prayer for safe miles, they left the village, driving two vehicles. One hauls a long, long trailer. We won’t see them much this summer.

The Preacher and I haven’t had an extended time without our nearby family since we moved here almost eight years ago. Conversely, Amanda and Kendall haven’t had this much time as a family, without us nearby, without the pressures of ministry, in even more years. When our family comes together again, we’ll all be richer, I think.

But I must confess. For some time now, like those nasty tent caterpillars on the now radiant plum tree, apprehension has messed with faith in my spirit. In the night, I’ve envisioned every kind of horror that could happen to a family of six adorable kids and two tired parents driving separate vehicles far from home. I pray the worry away. But when I listen to the news, like a crow to carrion, back it swoops.

Remind me of this, please, if you see me: As the pages of scripture and our own history reveal the faithfulness of God through the seasons of our lives (both pleasant and unpleasant), so too will these next months. Remind me that I know this well; and that God has not changed.

Remind me, mostly, that He is Sovereign and holds us all – your family and mine – in his hands. Oh, and one more thing. Remind me to ignore the news.

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