Essays on Faith: God was having a good day

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently reported that the summer of 2019 was tied for the hottest on record for the Northern Hemisphere. Had the weather run true to form, August would have been a little cooler and, by the end of September, chilly autumn breezes would’ve been breathing down our necks.

But that didn’t happen.

This past week, temperatures hovered in the mid-90s every day. I’m so disappointed. I always take pleasure in watching the cooler days of September drift into October and autumn, my favorite time of year.

Ah, lovely October! As you usher in the season that awakens my soul, your awesome beauty compels my spirit to soar like a leaf whirling in an autumn breeze and my heart to sing like a Heavenly choir.

Surely, our Creator God was having a very good day when He created the glorious days of October — and I plan to thank Him by savoring every moment of it.

It’s time, once again, to enjoy 31 days of cooler mornings, clear blue skies, sunny afternoons, and leaves changing color as some cling to their trees tenaciously before giving up and slowly floating to the ground.

It’s time for change and time for acknowledging the familiar stirrings inside.

I’ve had those familiar stirrings each October since I was very young. When I was about 10 years old, I attempted to describe them to my grandmother and was surprised by her reaction.

“Wanderlust!” she said, in a rather disgruntled tone.

“What’s wunderlust?” I ask.

“Wanderlust!” she corrected. “It’s what your great-grandpa Morgan had. You don’t want to give in to it. My daddy went to the store for Mama one October day and never came back. I was only 6 and my brother, Dan, was 3.”

“Where’d Grandpa Morgan go?” I asked.

“Who knows? We haven’t seen nor heard from him since. He was a dreamer, like you — sat around daydreamin’ all the time, talkin’ about seeing the world. Sure couldn’t get any work outta him! Mama was better off without him, if you ask me.”

“What about Grandpa Hester?” I asked.

“Well, he’s better than nothing, I guess. He married Mama and helped her raise us kids, but she never got over John Morgan. When his name’s mentioned, her eyes soften like those of an old beer drinker and she tries to hide the smile that turns up the corners of her mouth.”

“Wonder what happened to him?” I persisted.

“Just never you mind, child! If he wanted to be here with Mama and his kids, that’s where he’d be. He was no good and you don’t want to be like him. So when you feel those so-called stirrings you talk about, you just get them right out of your head and get busy. There’s nothing like work to make you feel better. You hear me?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Now, go on outside and find something to do. I’ve got work to finish.”

Dejected, I thought: She doesn’t understand. It’s not about seeing the world. Truth is, I don’t even like to travel. I’ve seen enough of the world to satisfy that yearning, if there ever was one. Still, unusual feelings begin to stir inside me when October gets close and nobody understands why I get so excited.

What could be more exciting than an October day? It’s your birthday, Fourth of July and Christmas all rolled into one!

Many people can’t enjoy autumn because they know that winter follows, bringing colder days and snow and ice. I find myself wondering: Instead of worrying about what may happen in the days and weeks ahead, why not remain calm and confident, knowing that good is always present because God is always present? Why not welcome the changes as new opportunities to recognize and accept the good that awaits?

My October stirrings were never mentioned again. I’m certain my grandmother thought she’d nipped that problem in the bud, but she had no way of knowing that the stirrings she warned me about were buried deep within my soul. She couldn’t have guessed that, for the rest of my life, when afternoon temperatures began to hover in the mid to high-60s; and skies became a cloudless, cerulean blue; and leaves of yellow, red and orange decorated the landscape, I’d start to experience a familiar unrest and know it was that time again.

Although I don’t agree with my grandmother’s harsh judgment, I “go along.” It’s easier than trying to explain.

A few days ago, I told a friend I had stirrings inside.

“Are you pregnant?” she asked.

I giggled as my grandmother’s words spilled out: “No, it’s wanderlust.”

We both laughed and it was over for her. But not for me.

Never for me.

Peggy Toney Horton lives in Nitro.

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Funerals for Thursday, January 16, 2020

Baisden, Robert - Noon, Evans Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Chapmanville.

Barker, Gregory - 11 a.m., Christ Episcopal Church, Point Pleasant.

Brown, Marion - 2 p.m., Holcomb Cemetery, Holcomb Hill, Indore.

D'Arco, Joseph - 11 a.m., St. Francis de Sales Church, Beckley.

Daniels, Shirley - 11 a.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Epps Jr., William - 1 p.m., Abundant Life Ministries, Charleston.

Frontino, Mona - Noon, Saint John’s Catholic Church, Summersville.

Garvalia, John - 11 a.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Harper, Irene - 1 p.m., Pryor Funeral Home, East Bank.

Holmes, Rosalee - 3 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Hossler, Sheila - Noon, Cunningham - Parker - Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Lesher, Helen - 1 p.m., Matics Funeral Home Inc., Clendenin.

Perdue, Alex - 2 p.m., Sherman High School, Seth.

Pettry, Loretta - 1 p.m., Armstrong Funeral Home, Whitesville.

Richardson, Sonya - 11 a.m., Dawson Baptist Church, Glenville.

Smith, Gloria - Noon, Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.

Webster, Debra - 1 p.m., Greene - Robertson Funeral Home, Sutton.