The first of summer,
Sending my little ones off with a hug and a poem,
Trusting that all the efforts of my hands and feet will serve them well. And then the sudden freedom that comes quietly in to take the place of a rigorous routine.
This summer has been a fistful of firsts. Discoveries of abounding gifts which have grown the soul in new, wide-eyed ways.
I went on a date with someone I didn’t know.
I fell in love, good and right.
I packed up a friend’s things, so she can move forward with the currents of her life.
I made new friends and had picnics with them in sundresses.
I tasted food from Uganda and listened to friends speak of heartache, fears, and experiences, around a feasting table, practicing the mystery and beauty of communion.
I got lost in time, dancing the night away with old friends and new.
I tried a gin fizz for the first time, loved it, then learned how to make it.
I also tried an old fashioned for the first time, and rye whiskey for the first time. And loved it. And learned that you drink those outside in hammocks, or on a fancy date.
I took out the old 35mm Nikon and captured particles of the summer - friends’ sun-kissed faces, fields of flowers with the backdrop of rolling blue hills, and the playful smile of the face I have fallen in love with.
I flew to California and met a little baby that has softened the hearts of my family.
I read biographies about women who are resilient and strong, who choose to search and find their answers in redemption rather than a cold ending.
I learned to drive a boat and,
After fifty tries, and several less than graceful moments, I got on water skis and let the boat pull me along, smooth and fast.
I learned to be bold in prayer, no matter how thin the words sound to me. God is concerned with every inch of the human experience. No matter how small.
I have re-discovered Al Green, Bill Withers, and Aretha Franklin, the sounds of which provide a soulful and accurate narration of these summer evenings.
I talked about the church and the struggles of community at 4 am with my brother on the hour drive to the San Francisco airport. I love how smart he is and how his thirst for a logical argument has turned into an ability to bring sobering truths to areas of grayness and confusion.
I met Sandra McCracken finally, after years of pondering her music, and learned the healing waters of written word and communal song.
I have learned most of all, that the character of God includes such rich kindness, and that as a result, life also incorporates such romance to it. Our days are not mere existence, but the color brought to us by flowers, the majestic beauty of mountains, the mischief and shenanigans that warm summer weather allows for and invites, messages and moods that music brings, the depth of friendship that a feasting table reinforces and strengthens, the art of a fresh-cooked meal, the expressions of dance, and the romance of hand-written notes and midnight slow-dances shared between a boy and a girl.
I am learning the good news of the beauty that sprinkles itself on our undeserving existence.