Three Things I Learned this Summer
Sometime back in March, it seems all our learning curves took a drastic turn toward the vertical. Some of us are learning about resiliency, developing strategies for managing anxiety, or maybe discovering new ways to enjoy our families. At times, maybe we feel like the guy who was told on his first night in a monastery, “Here’s your room. If you need anything, be sure to tell us. We’ll teach you how to get along without it.”
With or without COVID-19, summer is a perfect season for self-discovery, and even in the midst of our busy days, it’s important to slow down and reflect on all that’s happening around us. As author Jan Johnson has so wisely said, “It’s not the experience that brings transformation. It’s our reflection on our experience.”
Here’s a quick list of three things I’ve been reflecting on.
1. Fun is actually a lot of work–and totally worth it.
In spite of all the gatherings that have been cancelled this summer, somehow things have been hopping here on my country hill. Our picnic table has welcomed a visit from some newly weds, and we’ve feasted on everything from burgers and dogs to lobster. The worn table was pretty active, too, during a visit from our son and his family in which most days there were nine Morins in residence here for meals, trips to the beach, and a couple of lake days.
It was a soul-gift to have our kids all together, grandkids along for the fun, and an extended time of togetherness. It was also a lot of work keeping up with food prep, clean up, and laundry. Just an observation: one trip to the beach reliably produces at least one load of laundry.
Was it worth it? Absolutely? The work of home is a matter of being willing to welcome others into “our place.” Gathered around the welcome of a prepared meal, no matter how simple, the table is a symbol of our hospitable heart. And is it not God’s way to spread a feast before His people? We meet around a table and the feast preaches the gospel to our hungry and thirsty heart.
2. Outside church is a summer miracle, but I really miss Sunday School.
Eleven weeks of sunny (or at least dry and reasonably warm) Sundays in a row have enabled us to gather in lawn chairs, to sing hymns to the whole neighborhood, and to be the church gathered, “the fullness of him who fills all in all,” with glorious Ephesians 1 gusto.
3. One word can make all the difference in my day.
Along with my morning Bible time, I’ve added a little book by Marilyn McEntyre. Word by Word: A Daily Spiritual Practice challenges me to spend a few minutes pondering just one word for an entire week: Listen. Receive. Enjoy. Watch. Accept. Each word becomes a little grace fountain as I dwell on it–and in it. Even a word like “resist,” negative on the surface, invites me to embrace good habits, to stand strong against temptation, and to lean into truth.
What spiritual practices are you leaning into in this season?
Do you find that different seasons of the year invite you into different habits of holiness?
What’s something you’ve learned this summer?
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