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Eyes rest hidden behind lashes gently shut. My mind drifts to a time before. The wind rushes through dried brown branches and the leaves twirl their circle dances to the ground. I can smell the scent of Autumn. The sun glows bright white, not the white that shines a golden warmth, but a shade that warns winter is upon us – a shade that prompts one more deep breath. My heart begs, time please be still, wait… just one more embrace.

I can hear the crunch of dead brown beneath my moving feet. It crackles with each step. The rake’s wooden handle stings my blister-filled hands. I have piles to go. It doesn’t matter. The comfort of the air drowns out the call of aching muscles and oozing sores. I see glimpses of sky through the branches of a sturdy Maple billowing overhead. Everything feels different. Where did time go?

The answer plunges deep. It’s gone. Just like that. Pangs of regret shudder my insides. I hear it again. It’s gone. Yesterday is gone. You missed it.

I finish my piles and squish them into lawn bags. The growth of the end of season grass has slowed to the point of needing its final lawnmower trim just last week. The barn stores summer’s remnants high on its shelves and the home is ready for its coming season – I, however, am not. I usually do this job with Thale. It seems the year made other plans.

*** When the unexpected strikes and you are forced to pick up pieces of life and death, faced with the reality of time not captured, where do you begin? This was a question I repeatedly asked myself after my husband, Thale, died. I worried about EVERYTHING. I worried about how I would help the children, how I would maintain the home, how I would get through it myself. I worried about every decision I made...was it the right one? Did I do enough? I worried about things I had no control over - from the simple to the horrifying. From how I would dress him for his funeral to what would happen to his body in autopsy. I worried so much I worried about worrying. I worried about how I would ever stop worrying. One day a bible verse spoke to me in a deeper way than it ever had before. It was the day I realized I only needed to worry about my next breath.

Matthew 6:34 NIV tells us, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself, Each day has enough trouble of its own. "

That is a truth I closed in a mason jar to capture its firefly glow. This was a day I let His words hold me. This was a moment I realized one day and one step were just too big. It was the day Jesus reminded me it was perfectly okay to simply take one breath at a time.

Lord, Thank you that you hold our broken hearts. Thank you that even when darkness is all around, your light is always there to guide the way. Thank you for reminding us that you will walk through it with us and that you will not leave us alone. Thank you for reminding us we do not have to worry. Thank you for holding us in your warm embrace and reassuring us that we must only take one day at a time, one step at a time, and sometimes simply one breath at a time. We pray for your closeness as we inhale and as we exhale. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

Just a breath, one... then another.

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