So how’s summer going for you? Are you pining for fall when kids are back in a routine and life seems a little more predictable? Or maybe you want Jesus to come before Autumn so you don’t have to go back to work or chillier temps. This is a good time to check in. These are the dog days of summer, are they not?
The other day, my son was groggily prepping at o-dark-thirty for his summer golf caddy job. He pulled on his crisp, freshly laundered, brilliant white caddy jump suit. (A clean jumpsuit is an important part of a good golf caddy gig or perhaps a good caddy tip). I like to joke and call it his golf “romper” to which I typically get an eye roll or four.
At any rate, he’s all “rompered up” and is putting his shoes on when he suddenly forms a dazed look on his face and sneezes….blood. As on a new, white canvas here was a fresh expression of his allergies and a hot, dry weather week.
But isn’t that how it is when you have a perfectly good plan? You have a good idea and then the old bloody-sneeze-on-the-romper just throws the plan right out. Things happen every day that just keep us from our own control…our own plan…our own control of the plan.
And these messy distractions are moments when I ask: where exactly is that Clorox stain stick again?
And so it is in life…amen? A perfectly good plan ruined by….life uncontrolled.
You are probably like me: you have your plans and you even have a Clorox stick handy. And I’m sure you have had a moment or two of really trying to soak in that sense of “summer” because remember that we longed for summer during the dreary midwinter days?? But really settling into a lazy summer afternoon or truly tuning technology out is proving to be more of a challenge than I imagined.
Let me tell you about what this feels like from my perspective: peacefulness is bumpy for me.
Parker Palmer says:
The soul is like a wild animal--tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, self-sufficient. It knows how to survive in hard places. But it is also shy. Just like a wild animal, it seeks safety in the dense underbrush. (from "A Hidden Wholeness")
Last summer we were selling my mom’s house after moving her to assisted living. We moved ourselves after 25+ showings and major upheaval. And the fall felt very “new” because we were living in a new part of town, figuring out new carpools, and just generally creating a new groove. And this summer, I just hopped into a full-time job and pretended like being even busier while the kids were out of school was a fantastic idea.
But sometimes the newness and the upheaval are places in which we like to sit and soak. Have you ever felt that way?
Let’s face it, peace seems more like the very obligatory, nutritious side dish at a Thanksgiving meal (brussel sprouts) or maybe being peaceful is kind of like the uber-responsible friend asking you if you’ve had your mammogram this year.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, I’m trying to learn new patterns of life without crisis...clorox stain stick in hand.
So back to the blood-on-the-romper incident, we did our best once the stain stick was finally located to clean up the mess… to make it less intensely…well, bloody. We did what we could. Sometimes that’s what it’s like when you’re trying to make the best of a hard situation. You work that stain stick magic and you move on, hoping for the best.
And as I dropped him off at the golf course, I saw an older gentleman pulling his clubs out of his car heading to the course. I say to the golfer under my breath, “Look for the adorable ginger-haired caddy! He may have a murder scene for a jumper but I promise he’s a good guy!"
Here’s to the rest of summer. May it be your chance to recapture a sense of peace, laughter and a funny Clorox stain stick moment of your own.
Megan's Take: Man, the notion of "peace" in the summer often feels more like boredom to my restless troops. I really do like "peace" when it means kids are getting along, playing nicely and walking around the house with a general skip in their step. But I do not like "peace" when it means lack of routine which is almost as hard on me as it is on my kids.
This summer we don't have a lot planned. That means I have some kids (well really one) waking up at 7:00 and some not showing the white of their eyes until 11:00. That can be peaceful, but it can also be a bit disconcerting. Should I buckle down and blow the whistle earlier to get them moving in an effort not to "waste" the day? Or, should I just let their biological clocks tick on their own accord and just while away the hours until breakfast turns into lunch? Honestly, if we don't have anywhere to go I mostly choose the latter. I can get a lot more "done" that way.
In some ways it feels ironic or uncanny that "peacefulness" would feel bumpy. I guess that's part of the challenge and the beauty of summer. It's all of the above. I really do try to breathe in the change of pace, because I know when mid-August rolls around and I have four kids in three different schools and sports schedules and homework looming I will long for the bumpy peacefulness of these days. So, a I sit here at 11:00 a.m. typing with two kids doing math sheets, one still in bed and one climbing a 14-er with a friend, I just have to inhale and exhale the gift of the variety of it all. I have to confess however, I am about to go blow the trumpet in the ear of the sleeping one. It REALLY is time to get up and disturb the peace a bit.
I had no expectations that this summer would be peaceful. I feel like my romper already had some ketchup, some lipstick, some grease, some kool aid, and a few other unidentifiable stains on it, before I even put it on. Starting tonight, we will have all five kids for a full month. While I am looking forward to having them for an extended amount of time, I am feeling a bit apprehensive. When all five are in full swing around here, my emotional exhaustion runs deep. I feel like I am on constant high alert. I feel like a parent to three of them and a camp counselor to two of them, except not nearly as fun. I think I am just going to have to get comfortable with all the stains on my romper, because if I try to clean everything up and keep it tidy around here, I'm going to go a little nuts over the next month.