Sunday, December 11, 2016

There are Days

by Sarah Van Diest @SarahVanDiest

There are days, seasons perhaps, where all that is beauty and wonder encompasses and eclipses every vision we take in; where every scene in life is overflowing with joy; where tears of delight and deep satisfaction grab us by the hand and run us through open fields, mindless of any deterrent or obstacle. These are the times that pull us along our linear but crooked and bumpy paths. These are the days that invigorate our (by comparison) lifeless journey…because most days aren’t like this.

Most days, and many seasons, are of a different hue, a cooler temperature, a meaner and more meager disposition. They are not necessarily bad or gloomy, but they do not possess the powerful perfume of those sweet, sun-kissed days of contentment and felicity. Most days; most of life is lived in a more desolate space.

Why is that? Is it the air we breathe in that causes such alterations, changes and inconsistencies? Or is it the cavernous nature of our souls juxtaposed with our occasional zest for life that imputes itself onto our perspective? Does the view and the experience come from outside of ourselves or from within?

It feels almost unfair to ask that, as if it is a trick; as if there is a moral lesson we already know waiting at the other end. A thankful heart is a happy heart, yes. We know. We watched Veggie Tales and we went to Sunday school. The cynic in each of us is tired; exhausted from trying to be happy when “happy” doesn’t define us a large percentage of the time. The practice of joyfulness has become a piece of cracking, brittle plastic after too many days in the intensity of the sun. Pessimism, or something akin to it, has become less of something to avoid and more of something to coexist with and perhaps talk to, after all, it’s not going anywhere.

Maybe this is how the soul ages.
Maybe this is how the soul ages. It seeks out the joys of life in its early days becoming tan and strong in the wild of it all, but begins to recognize there is much missed at such a reckless, passionate pace. Stopping to stoop over the tall grasses and leaning in, we see what colors blanket them first in the heat of the sun, but then also in the cool of autumn, where vibrant green turns orange, red, purple and brown. The notice of their changing constitutions alerts us of their complexity, when our quick gait of before had denied us that understanding. Sitting now to watch the grasses wave in the wind, wither and then die in winter slows the beats of our hearts to a more steady, ambling rhythm.

We see the full cycle of the seasons pass and we comprehend their meaning. Though there is life, we begin to understand there is an accompanying death, always. Our hearts may sallow a bit as we ingest that thought and live it out in days and years. But as we sit some more and watch those lovely grasses sway and bend, we also see the accompanying life that follows death, always. And our sense of thankfulness grows to encompass a much greater and more profound depth than what had kept us happy in seasons past. This thankfulness has a smallness to it now that is larger than ever before. It needs less to feed it and make it strong and give it sustaining, lasting life.

The bosom of this aged brand of thankfulness holds both joy and sorrow, both life and death. It wraps its arms around the fullness of the journey, each day of sun and each season of storms. We may not run as often in the open fields as we once did, though we still love those days, and our pace may be slower and more deliberate than before, but our view has changed.

Our souls have aged in gracefulness.

Our hearts have grown in graciousness.

Death and life sit by our side as we watch the grasses blow in the evening breeze…

And we are thankful.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Colossians 3:15-17. 

"Our souls have aged in gracefulness, our hearts grown in graciousness..." @SarahVanDiest (Click to Tweet)

Educated as a teacher, Sarah taught school for nearly 20 years. As a young woman, she lived in China amid the rice paddies and water buffalo near Changsha, and then later taught English in Costa Rica for four years and raised her two sons. 

Sarah is married for the second time, the mother of 2 boys and the step-mother to 3 more. She and her husband, David, work together in their agency The Van Diest Literary Agency. Her full name is Sarah Ruth Gerke Van Diest. She’s 5’5” and cuts her hair when stress overtakes her. 

She is a freelance editor (including a New York Times and USA Today bestseller), blogger (The Write Conversation) and writer for hire. Her first book releases with NavPress in 2018. 


  1. Such beauty and depth all mingled into one post, Sarah. To say that I'm looking forward to your book release in 2018 is an understatement. Thank you for both the challenge and encouragement I discovered through your words this morning. I needed both. Blessings to you!

    1. You are too kind, Cathy; such an encourager. Thank you! Blessings!

  2. Thank you for this beautiful post! As I wipe away the tears, I also rejoice as I ponder your words about life's seasons. My heart and soul needed your words today. Blessings of this glorious Christmas to you and your family.

    1. Thank you, Dee Dee. I believe you could bring much wisdom to this picture. And thank you for your encouragement! Blessings!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Jennifer! Blessings!