I am suddenly filling our bird feeder every other day, which signals that summer is near. Soon I will be feeding the feathered beauties daily, as the daylight hours stretch long and bright. How pleasant it is to sit with a mug of coffee on the porch following my morning walk and observe life fluttering about our yard.
We bought our home two years ago, and each summer I have taken on a painting project or two. The physical labor feels rewarding and the undeniable results are deeply satisfying. I enjoy dabbling with color–an affordable way to transform any space. Thus far I have painted two bedrooms, one bathroom, our dining room, and my office.
This summer’s painting will be more tedious as I complete some interior trim work–baseboards and crown moulding.
Also? The dreaded bathroom.
I say dreaded because the former owners painted over painter’s tape along one tiny portion of the wall. (No one has mentioned it, and I imagine I am the only one to have noticed, at least so far.) Normally, this would not be a big deal to rectify, but sadly this happens to be the only room without any leftover paint.
If I choose to fix it, peeling the tape off the wall followed by repainting, I must either try to match the color, (which in my limited experience does not work) or repaint the entire bathroom, with a relentless amount of cutting in.
It would be considerably easier to forgive this small painting glitch and soldier on, but I have circled the sun enough times to realize that ignoring problems never works out well.
Plus the painter’s tape is driving me just a little bit crazy.
Isn’t it simple to live with a head full of good intentions, while never actually completing them?
Or perhaps you are the type to aim for absolutely nothing come summer. Therefore nothing is precisely what you get.
This reminds me of a poem that my children and I memorized many years ago. An anonymous piece called Mr. Meant-To.
Mr. Meant-To has a comrade,
And his name is Didn’t-Do;
Have you ever chanced to meet them?
Did they ever call on you?
These two fellows live together
In the house of Never-Win,
And I’m told that it is shadowed
By the cloud of Might-Have-Been.
Summer is also a splendid time to slow life’s fast-moving pace. Isn’t it wonderful to relax with family and friends: grilling out, playing cornhole and badminton; enjoying some fresh air and slow conversation while lounging in lawn chairs?
Back in our early homeschooling days, we celebrated the end of school with a long break. We worked diligently throughout the school year with our eyes on this summertime reward. Other than one hour of silent reading each day, we rested fully from schoolwork. The warm, slower days were certainly a time for special chores–such as cleaning out the garage and sorting through unused clothes and toys to donate.
But mainly we had lots of fun: many excursions to the swimming pool, outdoor romps including football and frisbee, races and bike rides, indoor games such as double solitaire and Yaghtzee, cookouts, vacations, movie nights, and of course, ice cream. Summer break maintained a loosely structured flow, built upon mental rest. Come late August, we were ready to crack open our textbooks and leap into the wonders of fall.
It never ceased to amaze me how growth always followed summer rest. None of my children fell behind on anything. They were refreshed and energized.
Doesn’t this make perfect sense? God himself created the world and then rested. Shouldn’t we do likewise?
Many of our homeschooling friends chose to partially school year-round, limping through summer, keeping up with studies–sort of. Come fall, everyone was more or less burned out, as one year rolled into another without clear distinction.
Seasons of rest are golden. So often, as adults, we are prone to plowing through, working ahead, while remaining constantly available by phone and email, half-working every single day. No wonder so many people are feeling washed out.
Personally, I have found it necessary to schedule pockets of rest. Otherwise, life becomes all work and no play.
This concept reminds me of another anonymous poem from our homeschooling archives:
Work while you work,
Play while you play;
This is the way to be happy each day.
All that you do,
Do with your might:
Things done by halves
Are never done right.
I guess what I am saying is Don’t waste your summer. Trust the Lord, who created both work and rest, declaring them good.
Perhaps this is the summer that you purchase a birdfeeder and glory in God’s creation. Or plant a tiny flower garden and surprise a friend with freshly cut blooms. Tidy up the baseboards of your home, beautifying the space God has entrusted to you, readying it for future family gatherings. Load up all of those clothes you never wear and donate them. Clean out the desk drawers and pitch the unnecessary. Sort through those tools in the garage. Organize your pantry. Write someone a kind letter and mail it the old-fashioned way. Reread the same book of the Bible again and again until you hear the words pulsing through your mind, clear and true. Obey God by resisting all pathetic selfishness, and become a happy servant in your church by helping in the nursery. Put your phone away, delete social media, and practice authentic presence with living, breathing people. Memorize a poem and sing silly songs with your children or grandchildren.
And then? Rest.
Find a comfortable spot and delve into a good book. Swing in the hammock. Sit outside with your coffee and simply think for one whole hour. Listen to the birds and enjoy those wind chimes. Take a gentle walk and rest your mind. Hold your spouse’s hand like you did when you were dating. Catch up with an old friend. Go to bed early and wake up wonderfully rested as the sun rises. Enjoy a movie. Sip an ice-cold soda. Surprise your people by taking them out for an ice cream cone, just because.
Delight in the summer that God has entrusted to you.
It won’t last forever.