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Seasons End

When you work at a summer camp, summer has a strange way of going by both at the slowest crawl and at the speed of light…at the same time.

In the midst of it – with a cabin full of cantankerous kids, with 150 people to cook three meals a day for, with piles of paperwork, with early mornings and late nights – each day and each week can seem endlessly long. Sometimes it feels like those 12 weeks of summer will go on forever.

And I don’t mean to imply that it’s all hard. The good can seem unlimited, too. The “Jesus-high” it’s easy to find at camp, the fun and memorable moments, the relationships built with other staff, the thrill of seeing young lives changed… these are the parts of camp you never want to end, the memories you’ll cherish forever.

But that sense of the slow passing of time brings with it challenges. You’re exhausted, you’re emotional, and for this seemingly-infinite twelve weeks, this is your life. And so it’s easy to adopt a narrow vision, to forget about life outside of this, to get wrapped up in the drama, to forget that in a few weeks this will all be over, and to feel like if that camper won’t participate in a game or that counselor takes ten extra minutes of break time, IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD.

And then summer ends. Autumn comes. And suddenly, rather than living in the heat of it, you’re looking back on it – a season gone by, simply a memory. You wonder why you got so worked up about this-or-that, because it really wasn’t such a big deal. You wish you’d spent less time doing this and more time doing that; you didn’t realize it would go by so fast.

This fall, as I’ve reflected back on a busy summer at camp, pondering this weird concept of a season passing both quickly and slowly at the same time, I’ve realized the same concept applies to my single life.

I was 24 years old before I had my first real date. My now-husband and I started dating when I was 27, and got married at 28.

You can bet that I felt like my single years would never end.

There were good times, of course – blessings and upsides to the single life. Freedom, travel, lots of friends from lots of places, late night Facebook chats with my crush that left me giddy and sleepless...The single season has its fun side.
But there were also days when the loneliness felt crushing, nights when the bed was cold and the silence loud, breakups that left me hopeless and wondering if I could ever be loved. And in those times, singleness was a painful season that felt like it would go on forever.

Until it ended, when God brought me – completely unexpectedly – the man I had been waiting for. And now, coming up on my two-year wedding anniversary, I’m looking back and marveling at how fast it feels like that season went by. In the midst of it, I would have cried that the days until I met my husband were crawling by so slowly. But now, rather than living in the heat of it, I’m looking back on it – a season gone by, simply a memory. Sometimes I wonder if I took it for granted, or neglected to take advantage of all the opportunities I should have. Either way, the season of singleness is history now. And though it was at times painfully long, now that I’m in a beautiful new season of marriage, I can’t believe how short it looks in my memory.

So if you are in the heat of a challenging season, I encourage you to take a deep breath, take a step back, look at the bigger picture, and remember that every season ends. It’s what seasons were made to do – to begin, last for a time, and then transition. Before you know it, you’ll look around and find yourself in a beautiful new season.

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