If you're on social media of any sort (Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, etc) then everyone is all heart eyes over pumpkin spice everything, cozy knit scarves, and the changing leaves.
I think I've seen a post with this quote on a million times:
(you can download this free printable!!!)
Truth be told, I have always loved October. The changing leaves are beautiful. School was always my favourite (I know, I'm weird). The cool crisp air makes me feel alive. Free candy. My mom's birthday. Need I say more? October deserves all the accolades it gets.
But, October has become bittersweet. Have you ever noticed (perhaps we have social media to thank for this as well) that every
month day has something that we commemorate? There is National Donut Day (June 3), National Hot Dog Day (July 23), and even National Pickle Day (November 14). We seem to want to celebrate everything.
Let me tell you the "National" days in October...October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pastor Appreciation Month. Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And.The.List.Goes.On. I kid you not, October holds awareness for 33 different things--more than any other month.
Some of these hit home more than others. Here lies the bitter, with my love of October. It is no surprise that I am fighting breast cancer. (check 1) I have also suffered the loss of one miscarriage and one adopted son. (check 2) And I'm married to a pastor. (check 3--not bitter, just sayin')
I am reminded all month long of loss. And not just little, my-favourite-pair-of-shoes-had-to-go-in-the-trash-can, loss. Big, fat, hole-in-my-heart, help-me-Jesus loss. People buy products campaigning to fight breast cancer. Women take off their bras in support (how this helps me, I have no idea--here's a great article, written by a survivor in my online support group, about "pink washing" and some helpful ways to actually contribute to Breast Cancer Awareness: Please Put that Pink Can of Soup Down and Put your Bra Back On). There are gatherings for women grieving the loss of their babies.
Jesus, come back!!
Friends, this month is hard. It is full of good things, but it is also hard. Will you take the time to find meaningful ways to support your friends, family, and neigbours that are struggling with what October means? Yes, all the heart eyes and smiley faces for pumpkin spiced whatever, but many tears are shed between those glorious lattes.
I'm so thankful we serve a God that is bigger than all this? I'm sure there will be hot caramel apple cider in heaven, but seeing these lost babies? Having fully healed bodies? That trumps all the glory October might bring.
There is joy to be had in this journey and I'd love to share some of it with you: today was chemo round 6 (of 8). I am 3/4 of the way done!! Yippee!! I also had a head CT today to check for brain tumours. One of the markers of the cancer I'm fighting is that it can silently spread to my head. Praise the Lord my CT was clear. All day I sat with my sweet friend (another joy) and praised God for a clear scan.
I'm going embrace all that October is. It is painful and it is wonderful. It is golden autumn leaves resting on trees wrapped in pink ribbons. It is a walk next to a landmark that reminds us of a lost child in the crisp air, sipping on something warm. It is a holy juxtaposition in my life--I'm thankful that joy and loss often ride side-by-side, keeping us whole, keeping us relying on Him.
Happy October friends.