My body feels the season beginning to shift and responds with achy bones, tired eyes and soulful sighs. My heart aches and swells, longing for the sweetness and slowness and coolness of the season to come. I can’t help but feel antsy and stiff in this stuck-here place where heat and sweat and busy rushing still grip and cling to my weary spirit. This time of year is familiar with tears, and mood swings, and extra cups of coffee. I returned from the store today with a box of freshly-sharpened pencils and an eager anticipation to bid a fond adieu to summer.
The summer bucket-list, hastily taped to the front of the fridge, is mottled with unchecked boxes. This daily reminder of good intentions speaks of failure and loss and heatwaves. Each unchecked box tells the story of rushing and busyness and heat-induced laziness. The list reads back failed attempts at projects half-finished, neighborhood barbecues missed and lost days spent lazing about watching too many shows on the screen. The empty boxes reflect my inside feelings at the close of this season. More empty than full. My Super Mommy side wishes each box were smudged thick with black ink. All those markings would surely represent memories made, fun had, together time. Best.Summer.Ever! Or would they?
There it is again. The insatiable wishing and wanting and striving for more. To be more, to do more, to see more, to give more. As if the empty boxes serve only to point out my inadequacies. Summer, for me, is sweating and striving. It’s sweating all the small stuff that never feels quite so small. It’s striving to cram in as much as we can as a family. It’s the trips we can’t take during the year. It’s the staying up late and the camping and the beach days and the swimming and the grilling and the house projects. And these are wonderful things. But I realize now that these things will not make me Super Mommy. And this summertime striving can make me lose focus on what really matters. Perhaps each unchecked box is actually a gift. Just as the emptiness we sometimes feel is a gift from the Only One who can fill it. He allows this emptiness to be a teacher, instructing us to lean hard into Him and be filled with His Presence not filled up by the things on our to-do lists.That BBQ we didn’t make it to turned into a silly game of hide and seek and cuddles with our littles on a heap of blankets in the middle of our living room. It was not a spectacular day documented with well chosen photographs posted to Facebook. It was a simple day. It was an unhurried day. At the time it felt like a let’s-highlight-mommy’s-failures day because we didn’t make it to the party. We slowed down. The organic Kale salad for potluck did not get made. The cute matching outfits didn’t make it on the boys. We ate cold leftovers and the boys spent the day toddling about in their underpants. And.It.Was.Glorious!
It is still technically summer and the days are still dripping with heat. There is plenty of rushing and bustling around me and oh so many invitations to do the same. But September is here and I have purposed to give myself permission to slow down. Fall is a natural ally. Fall beckons with breathy whispers of crisp mornings, it bids us come and breathe in coolness and breathe out comfort. It brings rainy days spent cuddled up in cozy reading nooks, sipping tea with cupped hands made warm by oversized mugs. It brings meandering down trails with dear ones, crunching leaves underfoot and learning what slowness teaches about nurturing those we love. I am grateful for this time of year. God has given the gift of seasons to us His creatures. Fall bids me come and dwell on better things, as does the Lord my God. So I shall go and nestle in and enjoy the slowness of this season.