One has two more teeth, tiny and translucent, poised to cut through his swollen pink gums. Days away from their arrival, I couldn’t be more ready for the crankiness to end and the chomping to begin.
The other sports a shiny new backpack, wears it up and down the stairs to get ready for school. Weeks away from his departure, I couldn’t be more reluctant for our at-home season to end and the out-and-about to begin.
Both my boys are on the cusp.
The change in the air is palpable. August’s energy is different: the ripe garden ready to burst with harvest, the slipping summer begging to be savored with one last hurrah. I ignore the back-to-school ads, cram our calendar with one more picnic, one more fair, one last trip to the cabin. Trying desperately to grab onto what’s already sliding away.
And yet I hope I’m on the cusp, too.
I’m tired of where I’ve been the past few months, wrapped up in self and house, turned inward and stretched outward.
Every morning as I grab breakfast foods from the cupboard, I catch a glance of the small bookshelf in the corner, the one I dubbed our new family altar, the one I pictured as a place inviting us to pause, prettied with a prayer cloth, a candle, simple pictures of Christ and the saints. It’s empty. A too-obvious metaphor. I’ve made time for plenty of other projects, but not that one. And it shows - on my face, in my heart.
Sometimes I’m like my youngest when I’m on the cusp of change. Cranky and irritable. Unsure of what’s happening but unhappy with the intrusion. Convinced I’d be happier for things to stay as they were.
Sometimes I’m like my oldest. Grinning and breathless with anticipation of newness brimming on the horizon. Trying out the transition with excitement. Imagining and inquiring, over and over, what will it be like?
And then I remember God. The God who needs no altar to infuse my daily life, the God who peers into my soul like a parent searching for the almost-tooth, the God who watches with delights as I wonder what lies ahead.
I feel a moment’s pause in the August storm, a centering breath and a settling-in of shoulders hunched in tension of the too-much they carry. Patience, God whispers. Patience for you, patience for them.
Patience on the cusp.