mmer is coming! In some places where school ends early, it’s here. Whether we live on a school year calendar or not, summer brings a lift to the spirits, and the hope of a change in our routine. Some people travel, and others take dinner outside. Some of us develop a daily ice cream ritual, and others delve into the cool and quiet of the public library for a rest from the heat. Kristin Hill Taylor has a summer not-to-do list, to balance all of our summer to-do lists. We can empty out our lists and savor the summer, if we listen to her advice.
One deep hope that many of us have for the summer is to rest. Just rest. Deb Vaughn writes to us about when rest is forced on us. Learning from the example of her ctas, she says, “I am emotionally and physically run down. But I am also blessed down to my toenails with the good things in my life. So what do you do when you know you need a quick re-start to get back on track again? You. Rest.” Put it on your freshly empty to-do list.
Once our minds are (maybe, perhaps, just a little bit more) empty, something creative awaits. Kathy Randall draws us into the imagination. Reflecting on her favorite children’s book, Harold and the Purple Crayon, she says that we can be more like Harold, a child who draws entire worlds with his purple crayon. Harold, she says, “ventures out into the wide unknown, finding friends and creating the world he wants to live in…It’s a powerful story for those of us who have wild imaginations. What if we could use our imagination to create whatever we put our minds to? How could we make the world a better place if we could draw something into existence? What does it take to bring something into existence? If we don’t have purple crayons to do our creating, then we have to create using the tools we have at hand.”
In a double loop of creativity, Rosalind Hughes uses her imagination to portray God at work, creating. She begins:
He was silent for the longest time
(it felt like an eternity),
brooding over the dark waters
as though through glass,
Want to be out in the world, but you’re stuck at home, with no purple crayon to draw a new world? Kristen Berkey-Abbott finds herself in a state of envy about her friends’ travels, but she has this wise reflection. Thinking about where she is not, she says, “the past year has shown me that my current situation is not my forever situation. And the past half decade reminds me that I am not going to live forever on this earth.” Things change. The seasons turn, and so do our lives.
For whatever summer brings, Abiding Hope offers us a prayer, inspired by the Parable of the Sower.
Most Merciful God,
we thank you for the gift of the day that lies before us.
You have sown your gospel of love in our hearts:
make us rich, fertile soil for your truth and justice.
May we bear your witness abundantly, Lord Christ,
and embody your healing compassion.
May we be fields of grace and mercy,
sources of nourishment for hungry souls
who seek deeper knowledge of You.
Spirit of God, fill us with the light of your wisdom,
and grant your peace to those we now name. Amen.
What’s on your to-do list this summer? How about your not-to-do list? What summer dreams are tugging at you? We’d love to hear your plans in the comments below.