Yesterday was the eleventh of November, and what a gorgeous Indian Summer day it was! After that first killing frost hits my garden, every sunny day is like a treasured bonus. Clearly the harsh winter cold is just around the corner, so I joyfully welcome the gift of a pleasant day to roll up the hoses, put away the garden tools, take care of other unfinished yard work, or just savor one last fall walk without a jacket.
Perhaps it was the penetrating warmth of the sun yesterday that caused me to pause and reflect on the Indian Summer God has granted me in this season of my life. About two years ago I went through a series of tests to determine why I was experiencing so much back pain. After careful study of my MRIs and CT scans, my doctor said he had seen similar images before, and he was certain I had cancer in my spine. He immediately scheduled a bone biopsy to confirm his diagnosis.
This was a tender time for Monte and me. As we reviewed our forty years of marriage, we gratefully acknowledged that we had been richly blessed during our journey together. We had already been given fifteen years beyond what his parents had been allowed, and thirty years had passed since my first brush with cancer. Even more priceless were the gifts of increased love and understanding we had received. Armed with these reminders, we hoped to be able to accept with grace and gratitude whatever God had in store for us.
After waiting several days for test results, the doctor called us in. He told us that in spite of his earlier prediction, he had been unable to find any cancer cells. When I asked if he thought he could have missed something, he assured me that he had been more than thorough, and that if cancer cells had been there, he would have found them.
The pain in my back still hangs around, but I am deeply grateful that God is granting my life a beautiful Indian Summer. It has given me time to publish the book I worked on for so long, and it has given me time to enjoy many precious moments with family and friends that I would have otherwise missed.
But just as Indian Summers must eventually give way to winter, I know our mortal days are also numbered. This reminder strengthens my resolve to let go of unimportant concerns and live my life more intentionally. Today I arranged to take my 94 year old mother to visit my aunt in Arizona, I’m having lunch at a rehab center with my friend who had a hip replacement, and I scheduled a time for my grandchildren to come over and make the butternut squash pilgrims I have planned for our Thanksgiving table decorations. There is always so much to be thankful for, and today is the perfect day to rejoice in the gifts of Indian Summers!
(The expression “Indian Summer” has always been one of joy and delight to me as you can probably tell by this post. I apologize if anyone finds it offensive. After someone called this concern to my attention I tried to consider other words, but they came out cumbersome and didn’t seem to express what I was trying to say. I sincerely ask your forgiveness if it feels inappropriate to you.)