Protecting Summer

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Summertime is my favorite time of the year. The sunshine and heat. How everything is out and blooming and living and gorgeous. I just want to stay outside sun up to sun down and soak it all in. Here we are on July 15 already and I have those first thoughts of, “No, not yet!” I know the heat and summer will continue for another month or even two, but it just seems to go so fast. I want to pause the days of my kids sweaty and rosie cheeked from chasing each other. I want to sit under the shade of our sycamore tree and read for HOURS with the summer breeze blowing through my hair.

Part of the reason I cling so tightly to July is because August is busy. Yearly there are birthdays, anniversaries, oh and not to mention school. Hopefully for the kids and I, this year holds a BIG trip, but I’m not officially announcing that until tickets and more are in my hands.

The intensity of August seems to linger the rest of the year, but June and July seem to be the Sabbath of my year and I don’t want to let it go. There is a rhythm in life as in most things and I like that. But it doesn’t mean its easy. For the past two years I have purposefully planned to do very little in those months. It really was glorious last year. I would say at times it seemed to go fast, but we truly did rest and relax and have fun. And we didn’t even go anywhere for vacation. We just stayed home and enjoyed one another and simple things. This year I feel a little panicky and I don’t know why. Although, my plan again was to take it easy and have few if any commitments for kids or parents (except work of course), I don’t feel like I’ve been as careful with that. I’m learning that “taking it easy” is not as easy as it sounds. Sure its nothing to spend an hour on facebook before you realize it, or squander away time on other trivial tasks. But I mean to really take it easy. To rest. To relax. To plan to have fun. That is the kind of rest that is rejuvenating. Life giving. I need that.

This summer I persuaded a few of my friends into reading “The Freedom of Simplicity” by Richard Foster with me and meeting weekly to talk about it. I read this book last summer and this time I wanted someone to discuss it with. As you may have read in a previous post, last summer was “The Great Purge” of stuff from our home. I think this summer is going to the “The Great Purge” of stuff from my heart. Foster says, “We dash here and there, desperately trying to fulfill the many obligations that press in upon us. We jerk back and forth between business commitments and family responsibilities. While we are busy responding to the needs of child or spouse, we feel guilty about neglecting the demands of work. When we respond to the pressures of work, we fear we are failing our family. In those rare times when we are able to juggle the two successfully, the wider issues of nation and world whisper pestering calls to service. If anyone needs a simplification of life, we do.” I won’t even quote what he says about our “many selves.” I will be the first to say that I’m a people pleaser. And I genuinely do enjoy doing MANY things, but I am realizing that I am NOT superwoman. I’m not. I cannot say yes to everything. Because by saying yes to everything, somewhere something or someone is being neglected. This is so hard for me. I know this post is ending incomplete, but I still need to process more and where to even begin.

Speaking of Christ, Foster says, “But when we experience life at the Center, all is changed. Our many selves come under the unifying control of the divine Arbitrator. No longer are we forced to live by an inner majority rule which always leaves a disgruntled minority…we enter a refreshing balance and equilibrium of life.” Easier said than done for sure and the rest of the chapter and book is diving deeper into that.

Has your summer “flown by”? Do your times of planned rest and retreat get unnecessary interruptions or fill up somehow? Do you have ways of protecting those times? Would love to hear thoughts from you.

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