One of my earlier childhood memories about Autumn is going Trick-or-Treating with my dad. I am sure my youngest brother was off with the big kids this time, but I was too little, so Daddy took me to the houses around my neighborhood. He was very patient with me, carrying my bag so I could manage my cumbersome costume and sometimes carrying me, too.
Sometime in September, Daddy had made me a promise. He would take me to as many houses as I wanted – not returning home until I was ready to go. I had visions of an all-night candy quest. My plan was to wake anyone who had already gone to bed with my demands for goodies, and to see the sun rise on my way home.
When we started out, it was just getting dusky, and we covered a lot of ground. I suffered through all the “Oh, she’s so cute!” and the “My, how scarry you are!” for the handfuls of chocolate, peanut butter, lollypops, and candy corn. I obediently took just one cookie from steamy plates, and even said “Thank you!” politely for raisins and the occasional apple or orange. It seemed we rambled up one street and down another for ages, and the bag was getting quite full, but I pushed on, intent on harvesting all the sweets I could.
Finally, when the night was edging closer to the tiny circles of light over doorways and streetlights, I looked up at Daddy and whispered a sleepy surrender. “Can we go home now?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes.” I managed through a yawn.
Okay, he said, scooping me up and starting off down the hill. I was dozing in his arms when I felt my mother’s hands lifting the plastic mask from my face and pulling my hat from my tangled hair. I was out of my costume and into soft flannel, and my toothbrush was in my hand.
“I want candy!”
“In the morning,” was the sage reply. “It’s almost 9:00 o’clock.”
My heart sank. I was sure it must be nearly sunrise, and I must have left way too much candy in the neighbors’ bowls! But I was very tired, and the flannel was so soft and warm. I was so glad to be home.
Sometimes, when the road gets long and the gathering darkness feels heavy on my soul, I look up toward my Heavenly Father and whisper, “Can I go home now?” I have walked so far. I have been so blessed, and I have been grateful. But I am tired, and sometimes the load is heavy, even when Father helps me carry it. I feel like the dove circling the Ark, finding no place to rest my feet. I walked all this way to discover that the golden years are mostly base metal with a thin sheen of brass.
I know we have a way to go, and there are doors on which I have not knocked – places where folks are waiting for me – but sometimes my energy is flagging. Sometimes I am so tired – tired to the very center of my soul. Who knew it would get this dark this soon? So, I sometimes hear myself saying it…
“Can we go home now?”
Tell me, are you ever discouraged? Sometimes, I am. And that’s okay. God carries me…
Even to your old age and gray hairsIsaiah 46:4, New International Version
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.