By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published November 8, 2012
The days are growing shorter. It happens each November, but I’m never prepared for it. As someone who exults in light, and sinks into gloom during the darker months, I have this love-hate relationship with fall.
On the one hand, I cherish the leaves’ ever-changing palette of red and gold. I love the nip in the air, especially after those blisteringly hot summer days. There are apples to munch on and pumpkin ice cream to devour.
On the other hand, there’s that darkness.
You would think that by now I would realize it’s all out of my control. No matter how much I might whine and whimper, the trees are going to drop their leaves into giant crispy piles all over the front yard. The days will grow ever shorter, and the air chillier.
There’s not a thing I can do about it—and that’s what is so astonishing: the fact that God is in control of it all.
The rain, the setting and rising of the sun, the phases of the moon, the changing of the seasons, the slow and secret growth of trees and flowers and birds.
It utterly stuns me. Because, you see, this realization leads to the obvious conclusion that I sometimes forget. He also is in control of my life.
Just as he has counted every hair on my head, and just as he sees every sparrow that falls, he knows the days when I mope around in my bathrobe and fuzzy pig slippers, wondering if we should just pack it all in and move to Florida because there, surely, things would be better.
But then I realize that for some reason, God has us firmly planted right here in Decatur, where our only family member is my mother-in-law—and she is in a long-term skilled nursing unit, where she’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
My husband and I are charged with nearly every detail of her life, meeting with social workers and nurses, answering calls from concerned friends, paying her bills and threading our way through the dizzying maze called Medicare and Medicaid.
And then there is me, worrying every step of the way. Will the money hold out? Will she ever walk again? Is there a chance her dementia will clear, and maybe she can go home again?
When I shared such thoughts with my cousin, she reminded me of something I too often forget.
“Let God be God,” she said. “God is all-powerful, and he knows what is best for us. Don’t try to take away his power. Trust that he will take care of you.”
My mother was a constant worrier. She believed in God, but I don’t think she truly trusted that she could put her troubles into his hands and let him handle them. She was a high-control person.
I inherited that trait. I’m the one who is constantly researching nursing homes, Alzheimer’s, Medicare rules—and all the rest. I’m the one tied up in knots, fearful there won’t be sufficient money to care for my mother-in-law. And fearful that maybe we have made the wrong decisions.
“Let God be God.” The words come back to me as the days grow shorter, and the trees in a remarkable way know that now is the time to let the past go.
Now is the time to drop the deadweight of leaves and surrender to the long dark road of winter, pulling in their energy until spring when they will blossom anew. God has been taking care of all this since time began. There has never been a day when the sun didn’t rise, and never been a fall when the leaves didn’t drop. There has never been a month without a full moon.
“Let God be God.” This must be my prayer during the dark time of the year. This must be my goal as my life veers into a new and rather terrifying direction.
This must be my reminder whenever I find myself stuck in my head, poring over the endless possible catastrophes that might unfold in the next week or month. Like the trees, it’s time to drop my deadweight of fear and worries and face the long darkness ahead, knowing it’s a path where others have gone before.
I must, finally, let God be God. After all, this is something that he is very good at.