This has been the case the past few days, as we first said goodbye to a dedicated member last Thursday. She was "one of the saints," as a retired colleague once referred to another such lady; a teacher and leader and friend to so many.
This was probably the first funeral that really affected me, a sign of deepening relationships that was inevitable. It was just a question of when. As it turns out, in this case, the answer is about a year and a half.
The second, held yesterday, also caught up with me. He was our town's unofficial historian, a lover of his lifelong home. He even wrote a book about it filled with memories and pictures collected over decades. His high school stood where Coffeeson's elementary school stands now, the main hallway filled with memorabilia from the former building, which he helped coordinate. When I learned that last year, I now can't help but think of him every time I visit the school and see that display, and I shared as much during my funeral reflection, during which I had to battle back a little emotion in order to finish the sentence.
This is what starts happening after a while. It's a good sign, I think.
Oktoberfest beers are starting to appear in the stores. For me it's one of the earliest signs of fall, along with the slightest hint of color appearing on the trees, the scheduling of "meet the teacher" nights, and news from Michigan's fall football camp. I usually wait until September to pick up my first brew of that variety, but this year I wanted a taste a little earlier than normal. Honestly, I've been battling the approach of fall a little this year, my expectations for my favorite sports team as low as they've ever been. Perhaps this amber-colored drink would help me ease into what is usually my favorite season of the year. It did its job. I think I'm much more ready for it now, and for everything that comes with it: hoodies, cider donuts, and a bit of football no matter what kind of agony and frustration may accompany it.
These last few weeks of what we call summer always seem to bring a little melancholy with them. It's a time of transition, of anticipation of new beginnings, but also the sign that something is ending, the last gasps of time off and warmer temperatures to be enjoyed before they disappear.
I haven't minded this ending for years, probably since high school. I love the signs that mid-August brings. As it turns out, this particular August has brought a few additional signs of trust between pastor and church.
This is what starts happening after a while. They're good signs, I think.