And just like that, there is a chill in the air. Summer vacations have come to an end and the long awaited football season has finally begun. Labor Day weekend always seems to unofficially mark the end of summer and for me seems to ring in a new year of sorts. September is my birth month and I celebrate it for all it is worth. My heart begins to tingle with excitement because as much as I love and adore scorching summer Alabama days and sweet kisses on moonlit country nights, the cool crisp autumn brings its own hint of exceptional romance and a brand new beginning.
I am in love with many appealing things. Summer breezes and gentle rains, ice cold lemonade, frisky puppies, smiling until my face hurts and uncontrollable laughter, pumpkin spice lattes, football, fall fashion, cooking, feeling the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. Lying in the crystal white sand along the emerald shores coastline during the summers near where I grew up, while praying for my future.
I am in love with my remarkable friends. I am in love with my devastatingly handsome husband.
I am in love with this beautiful, simple, yet extraordinary, exquisitely treasurable and magnificent life the Lord has called me to live. Of course it isn’t special. But it is all mine, and it is indeed splendidly sweet.
This is the very last year of my fourth decade. I just turned a magical thirty-nine.
But what if it were my last year of all? What if I never turned forty next fall?
I wonder sometimes if I would be missed should I suddenly cease to exist. What words of honor or reminisce would be spoken at my memorial service and would anyone actually attend? Who would speak on my behalf and would any tears be shed at all? Would it all be over in a flash and would everyone return to their own normal as if I had never even lived my dash?
This year has been one of tremendous love and even greater loss. It has been a year to remember and a year to forget. This year has re-shaped, molded and finely tuned the way I love and will live going forward.
You see, I do not have to ponder these morbid questions too long nor too hard for I know the answers all too well.
I alone control the responses by how I show my love for you.
It is how we LIVE that truly matters. Our lives and how much beauty within us determines our legacy.
I have little feet. But whether I am departing my earthly home for my heavenly home, or perhaps just moving from one job to another, one community, or even one church home to another- I want my footprints on the path I have walked to be so undeniably profound that the legacy of love I have left behind is unconditionally, unquestionably felt deeply for generations to come.
When I leave, I want to have turned everything completely inside out, upside down, and topsy turvy so that it was better than it has ever been before and ever will be again. I want to live in such a way that everything is more extraordinary with me than it ever could have been without me.
Shouldn’t we all want to be extraordinary? Our Father’s love for us is extraordinary.
I want my presence to have been known, the depths of my sincerest love to have been felt and for my faith to have filled your heart to the point of overflowing so that those I have known can continue that legacy in my honor.
Of course, I am not gone just yet. I have much work to do.
But if this year happened to be my last and I never see forty, I can promise you that I plan to be driving a big party bus to Heaven and it is going to be full of party goers. These little feet are not quite at the end of the path, but when the light grows dim and my Savior calls my sweet name, I’ll answer.
I’ll go home.
But you’ll know I have been here. You will know you were loved.
Because if I never see forty, it’s up to me to make sure thirty-nine was enough.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”