I am a summer girl. Born on a sultry July evening in Baton Rouge, Louisiana it is almost as if I was created to breathe the moist, languid, soupy air of the Mississippi river. I am comfortable wrapped in the sweet Honeysuckle laden heat of summertide, where the air is thick with swamp flowers, magnolia and Spanish moss.
I am a summer girl. Though I am rooted in the peculiar bayous that blanket my birthplace, I spent much of my childhood with the sea as my playmate. I grew into adulthood nurtured by a climate without the fullness of seasons, creating in me a desire for perpetual summer and a restless need to be cocooned in nature’s sufficiency.
I am a summer girl. Thrown suddenly into the restless ocean of grief, I have oft longed for the warmest season, because summer calms the winter in my soul.
I knew not what to expect as summer would surely usher in the long anticipated expanses of indolent, enduring days ripe with possibility and promise. Would it look like summers past, rich with time for hunting lightening bugs and conquering trees? Would we spend hours in the frothy water of the Atlantic, exploring the sweeps of sand and making new?
When summer emerged from the long stormy spring, would we wander through the wreckage of winter’s grief to welcome the green and growing? Would the notion that time heals all wounds, even deep gashes still raw and tender to the touch, prove true? You see, there was a “before” and now there is an “after” and I couldn’t imagine what summer would look like to hearts turned inside out and lives turned upside down. But I am a summer girl and with the change of seasons God has reminded me that the darkness always surrenders to light and there is no night that doesn’t end.
In the gift of a quiet morning in this season as I walked along the edge of the water as it kissed the shore, I stumbled upon a sea glass treasure. Once just a simple broken shard, sharp and fragile, it had survived rip tides and depths unknown. Shattered and lost to tumble alone in the icy waters of the sea, those jagged edges slowly grew softer and took on a new rounded shape. Transformed by time and tumult this little piece of glass had become a precious gem, strong and beautiful. In the reflection of that smooth little stone was the essence of grief and the story of survival.
I am a summer girl and this is what I know. I am not a broken heart, sharp and fragile. I am not this year or last. I am not that night or the days that followed. I am stronger for the weight I am called to bear. I am a story written as life unfolds and seasons change. And even as the leaves turn to hues of brown sugar cinnamon and ginger, and the landscape slowly melts from summer cotton into winter fleece, the edges of grief are being transformed by an all sufficient God, smoothed, rounded and beautifully purposed for a season yet to come.