I love the fall, and I love that the air outside is becoming colder. There's something strangely welcoming about it to me, something about the sharpness, the bite that the coolness brings when I walk out of the door. Maybe the change in weather, or the slow painting of the leaves and their descent to the ground, or the inner bracing for the upcoming winter, or maybe all of these make me a little more introspective and pensive than usual. I have pretty distinct memories and visuals of each of the past several falls that involve walking quickly outside with my hands shoved into my pockets, arms hugged against my side, and my head retreating a little into my raised shoulders. My Chuck Taylors scrape dry leaves on the sidewalk, and my eyes wince slightly as they scan the ground, back and forth. And I'm lost in thought, entrenched in some mental/emotional/spiritual chess game.
So it's no surprise that I'm sitting here in the beginning of November, in the heart of fall, with a cup of tea and the cold beginning to slide its fingers underneath the cracks in my windows and doors, in the middle of another game of chess. And no matter what move I make with my pawn, or bishop, or knight, or queen, it seems the black pieces on the other side already know which tile to take to declare, "Check." And my back is once again to the wall.
My opponent, if anything, feels like life. This is one of those periods of time where no matter what I try to do, it seems life isn't yet ready to advance me forward. And lately, it feels less like a tense game of chess and more like a brawl. I keep fighting, and swinging, and dancing, and swinging, and absorbing blows, and my only prayer is to make it to the end of the round, so I can wipe the blood from my eyes and go at it again.
Every time I get up, though, my legs feel more and more like plastic straws, and the bruises and the sweat and the heat and the lights seem to all be saying, "You're toast, man. Throw it in."
I keep coming back to this, Psalm 69:
Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.
Right now, there's probably not a single section of that whole, thick book that speaks to me more than this one chapter.
And I continue to pray the same prayer as David later in this Psalm:
Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.