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This afternoon, I took a walk in the neighborhood. The sun shone down on a mild and balmy day as we ease into fall.  I came across my neighbor, sitting in his car across the street.  I ambled over to say hello.

“Are you guys all moved out?” I asked.

“Oh yeah, we’ve been gone since Wednesday,” he said. His second boy, Zac’s childhood friend, sat in the passenger seat beside him.

Shows how much I pay attention.  I’ll never make Busybodies Anonymous.

We made small talk for a few minutes.  We talked about our boys, who grew up together and used to play every day.  Over time, they grew apart.  Their interests diverged. But their son was Zac’s first friend.  His first best friend, in fact. Zac had a difficult time leaving our Portland church and friends behind. This boy helped Zac feel welcomed and included.

I walked away with a wave, my heart heavy.  Why do things have to change?

I turned into the next block.  The blue and white house has newer occupants, too.  Over the last couple of weeks, they ripped out the old rotting fence and put in a new picket fence and pergola, painting them all white.  They landscaped with fresh russet bark dust.  They built a natural-looking raised bed out of stones in the grass strip flanking the sidewalk. I heard their corner neighbor in the Dutch colonial rev up the motor on the power washer.  A new resident himself, he scoured the cement walls and sidewalks into recognizable boundaries. On the way back from my walkabout, I spotted another neighbor, two up from us in the taupe house, with a small U-haul truck parked in his driveway. The back stood open to receive worldly possessions.

Change sometimes comes on like a whirlwind, unexpected and uncontrollable, often unwelcome. So far this year, many of our friends and neighbors are in transition between new jobs and new homes. I can’t stop time any more than I can stop the season.  This appears to be a transitional season for many.  It’s not just fall, which is a transition in itself. We know transitions by their very nature don’t last long. Winter will soon be here in all its chilly glory. Multicolored fall will become a memory.

When what is familiar disappears, I feel unmoored and uncertain.  I find myself looking for what lasts, namely seeking more of God’s presence. As I move forward, I can enjoy the beauty of the season I’m in and know it won’t last forever. I can also actively welcome and celebrate the new people who will be a part of our tomorrows, while remembering the people who brought joy and laughter and grace to our yesterdays.

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. – 2 Corinthians 4:18

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