Hi from here. It is officially October, folks. And STUNNING. I had the joy of driving up through Wisconsin this weekend and it was breathtaking. The colors and the smells and the crisp, fresh air laced with the sunshine only autumn brings. The perfect weekend to celebrate fall and the start of a new month. I went to Trader Joe's and bought nearly every pumpkin/apple/autumn-y thing they had, I have a half bushel of apples to sort through, and a beautiful pumpkin to carve. What a gift.
It's funny, even the brightest and most beautiful of seasons can bear its own ills. Doubt and fear are powerful vices that can visit frequently in these long, dark nights. I find it is in these most vulnerable of moments, when the eyes and ears are free of the spectacles of day, that my mind and heart swirl with questions and unease. These nightly demons - I must dig deep in the light of day to pack warmth and confidence and hope around my heart, knowing that in the shadows, the woes persist.
I think of the Old Testament's Jacob and his wrestling with God. Jacob is camped out, preparing to meet and make amends with his brother Esau, when a man (God) wrestles him through the night. He emerges broken and bruised, with a hip that would always serve as a testament to his struggle. Immediately following their encounter, God gives Jacob a new name - Israel, it means he struggles with God. I love that God brings Jacob to a place of weakness, in order to name him, in order to grant him a greater purpose, so that he might bear the thread of redemption and receive the grace of his brother. The name Israel carries a story, it reveals the history of a struggle and a hope.
Hope. It is uniquely and remarkably more powerful than fear.
This is what keeps me. When I emerge from my own bout of loneliness, doubt, and disquiet, I remember Jacob's struggle with God and the gift of weakness. It is such a pivotal part of Jacob's story and a decisive moment in his personal legend. I hope the same is true for us all, and that we will have the foresight and wisdom to submit to a weakness that bears such promise.
Amidst all this struggle and autumn-living, I have been loving on the new Mumford & Sons album, Babel. It is filled with both darkness and hope - which, I think, is where art stands. There's this song on the album, "Ghosts That We Knew" - it speaks to the nightly demons and the hope that we cling to.
And you knelt beside my hope torn apart
But the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view
And we'll live a long life
So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
Cause oh they gave me such a fright
But I will hold on with all of my might
Just promise me we'll be all right
But the ghosts that we knew made us black and blue
But we will live a long life
And the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view
And we'll live a long life