It's the first day back to school for my siblings.
This year is their first foray into the world of public schooling, after a lifetime of homeschooling.
Needless to say, we're all a bit nervous.
But at the same time there is a delicious sense of excitement and anticipation in the air.
The tension is thick enough to be cut with a knife, but the blade needn't be a sharp one.
It's strange to watch my siblings head out the door, backpacks weighted down with books, arms swinging, and not to be experiencing such a beginning myself. It's my first year as a high school graduate, and, to be honest, I truly expected to at least be attending some college classes this year.
But God has had other plans, and I am more than delighted to pursue the paths He is going to lead me down, no matter how different from my own plans and wishes they me.
Where He wants me is where is best.
However, just because I'm not going back to school with my siblings doesn't mean I don't feel the same sense of expectation and excitement as they do; indeed, the same senses I have felt and savored each year.
I love the Fall, and I will admit to liking school as well: the two are tied together in mind, and I've always appreciated the charm of a scheduled day, an ordered way of daily life with the weekends being reserved for joyful dissipation.
To me, brown and gold leaves are paired with the leaves of lined paper I snap out of my binder to write on.
The smell of hot cereal in the mornings, apple pie baking in the afternoon, both mingle perfectly with that of freshly sharpened pencils and maybe an exploding science experiment or two.
In short, school is to Fall as Christmas is to Winter.
But this year is different.
I am looking behind me at the paths I yearly used to tread, and then ahead at the darkened one that lies before me: the unknown.
And I am more excited than I can express.
For the challenges, for the triumphs (For how can I do but triumph with the Lord on my side?), for the new experiences that lie ahead.
This Autumn has suddenly become so much more beautiful in that I can rewrite how I look at it.
I can create a new experience.
New traditions for the years to come.
I can slow down and enjoy the scenery more than before.
Spend more time studying my Bible rather than textbooks.
I am excited indeed.
When do the rest of you start school?
Are you facing your first year as a graduate as well?
Perhaps it's your last year in high school.
(Take my advice and just go with it: if you try to be clingy it will be miserable, but if you let it pass you by you will regret it. Savor the moments and the last times you will enjoy life this simply!)
I dearly wish I could have sent each of my siblings off with an apple for their teachers (I'm so old-fashioned!) and a piece of paper with these words of advice on them.
They'd better behave.
*Makes squinty eyes at siblings*
I hope you all enjoy your day, whether you have started school or are still enjoying the last days of Summer's freedom.