We've been having a spate of perfect days in Texas. I suppose there are no perfect days anywhere, but if they exist, they are present and accounted for here. The skies are clear, a spotless blue, the temperature is 72, the air is sweet and breezy, the sun warm and not wearing out its welcome. Every day I sit outside on our back porch and breathe in sun. Last winter I cozied and busied myself inside with wintery things, trying so desperately to make it feel like a familiar season, but when summer hit and the real cabin-fever set in (who wants to be outside when it's the 68th day of temps above 100?), I wanted those January days back.
This winter weather is getting every bit of me it can.
While I am calling to mind the things for which I'm grateful this week, it seems that singleness is topping that list for real. I italicize that because I have exercised that muscle of gratefulness before, but it has never felt familiar, good or right. It has always felt like a cheat, stealing away the best years of my life, chances for babies, young love and all that.
But the past week I have seen it nothing other than a sweet, sweet gift. I used to be jealous of my friends who married young, fresh faced and fertile, and I think it's worked out well for them. But I wish I hadn't spent my jealously on that.
I say to my dear friend last night, after we laugh at her three-year-old's antics and she challenges and encourages me, "I have literally spent the best years of my life doing things that my younger married friends may never get to do—and I have never been grateful for that. Ever."
I don't know if God has marriage for me someday, plenty of my friends say it will happen and there's always an acquaintance I see at a wedding who nearly pinches my cheek and says "Next time it'll be you!" (Note: if you're pinching the cheeks of 30 year olds and saying that, please stop.) I don't know if my own children are ever in my future. I don't know if a wedding is in my future. I don't know if I'll ever be loved with the sort of love I have looked at jealously. I don't know.
But here's what I know: I don't want to waste this season, this perfectly crafted season. I want to live it large, open, others-minded, with risk, faith, and possibility. I want to live it in its time, fully embracing this gift for this day. I want to keep my eyes on the blessings of this portion and I want to live it as abundantly as the Spirit allows.
Back in New York it's snowing and icing. My favorite people are curled in patchwork blankets and shoveling snow. They're making crock-pot soup and drinking hot tea with honey. It's winter there, a New York sort of winter. But here, in Texas, we're having a different sort of winter and it's not wrong or misplaced or a cheat, it's by design.
And I'm so very, very thankful for it.