Um, I looked at the calendar and realized that there are less than three weeks left in summer break. What is this crazy vortex I live in that makes time move at hyper speed?
In an instant I went from “super chill summer mode” to “GET ALL THE SUPPLIES AND BUY ALL THE BACKPACKS AND CLEAN OUT EVERY CUPBOARD!”
Now I’m on a mission to squeeze every last moment out of the dwindling break.
I have a love-hate relationship with summer. Desert summers are so hot it’s stupid and that means I can’t really get outside, which is something I enjoy. I do love that all six of us are on a break together and we don’t have to worry about rushed mornings, homework, rehearsals, tournaments, recitals, etc., etc.
We’ve done some really fun things since the school year ended. We’ve escaped to the beach, played at the lake, gone roller skating, watched a movie at a drive-in, had countless game nights, spent time at the library (free air conditioning!), stayed up late, and slept in. As far as making memories, I think we’ve done a solid job of that this year.
But this summer has had some sharp edges also. Last month John was in a serious auto accident. The damage from being hit landed his car in a wrecking yard two months after we got it. He said he looked at the grill of the other car, time slowed, and he thought, “This isn’t how I thought I was going to go.” The car took the impact, but in the aftermath we all felt emotionally crushed.
The month before that, during a self-check, I found a lump. With my mom’s history of breast cancer and her death from ovarian cancer, I am pretty diligent. I wasn’t ready for it though, and I worried. By “I worried,” I really mean “I lost my mind.” If I’m being honest, there was no faith in God’s plan or peace that things would be okay. There was only, “Who will dance with my sons at their weddings?” and “I won’t be able to help my girls when they have babies of their own.”
The next day, volunteering as a stage manager, I sat in a dark corner behind a curtain while nearly 1,000 kids celebrated the first day of our church’s annual week-long VBS camp. I kept stealing away to make appointments and email John. I was able to see my doctor that afternoon and he referred me for the proper tests. Three weeks later (I know!) I went in for my appointment. I couldn’t help but notice that all of the other ladies sitting near me — all waiting for the results of their own diagnostic tests — walked in for their news and one-by-one, walked out smiling. I was sure the odds were against me, so when my name was called I prepared myself for the worst. I almost didn’t believe it when the doctor handed me my report and said everything looked just fine. “What you found was totally normal,” she said. “Always be watchful, but never assume the worst.”
Right. Talk about emotional whiplash.
For a long time I thought summer had some whimsical superiority over other seasons, and was disappointed when it didn’t meet my expectations. I’d spend half the school year dreading it, and the other half dreaming about its lazy days. The fall is my absolute favorite season and it’s not unusual for me to begin counting down the days until summer gives way to pumpkin everything.
A few weeks ago I stole an idea from Instagram and made a bracelet that reads, “SUMMER.” I’m wearing it because the calendar already moves so fast; wishing away the heat or complaints of boredom or focusing so much on what’s next is a sure way to miss what’s happening right now. This simple bracelet acts as a reminder that we’ve had some great summertime experiences, and even in the ugly stuff, God has always carried us through.
But blessed is the man who trusts God,
the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees planted in Eden,
putting down roots near the rivers —
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
bearing fresh fruit every season.
– Jeremiah 17:7-8 (The Message)