Yearning for Summer

In these cold winter months, life continues to move gently in our home.  The kids are at school, each trying to make sense of what they are learning.  Wondering about where they want to end up.  Challenging the new understandings that are emerging as they study and ponder on the material presented to them by both their teachers and their experiences.  Dreaming about warmer days when they will be free to roam on their own, chasing their dreams and their yearnings without anyone else’s agendas and schedules.  Oh, don’t we all yearn for that. Yearn for a time when we can loose ourselves to our dreams and our passions.  Times we allow ourselves to imagine that life can be just a little bit different, just a little bit better, just a little bit gentler.

 

My dog has an infection in her ear.  She has had infections for as long as we have had her.  I ended up taking her to the vet to get things checked.  I had tried for weeks to keep her clean and medicated.  Trying new recipes to clear her ears.  Trying to be diligent about keeping her ears dry and clean.  But she is a dog. She is a golden retriever who loves water.  A dog who loves to go for hikes with my husband.  A dog who loves to jump into the lake no matter how cold the water is, no matter how bad her ears can get.  And so, she returns from her hikes wet and stinky, and with her ears beet red and itchy.  And I can’t really stop her, because she is a dog who loves to swim.  And what is the point of being a dog if you can’t have fun swimming and fetching sticks, even if your ears get sore.  I am learning a lot from her.  About keeping a balance between what is healthy and ‘good’ for me, and what my soul yearns for.  Too much of ‘being careful’ can kill my soul.  I need to allow it to swim, even if it’s ears hurt afterwards.

 

And so, I look for that balance between what I must do, and what I want to do. Feeling the expectations that are laid upon me by myself and by my roles. What I am expected to do because I am a mom, a teacher, a friend, a citizen, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a woman – and what I yearn to do.  Realizing that these are not mutually exclusive, that my roles are also within my realm of choice.  Freed by the inkling that these expectations in my roles ebb and flow along with my yearnings. 

 

And as I realize this, I feel profoundly thankful for my life.  For the gifts that have come along the way, inviting me to be all those roles.  Summoning me to be challenged by the uncomfortable places that those roles bring along.  Allowing me to grow and discover myself in different ways.  Discovering elements that are so much bigger than who I am or what I yearn.  Realizing that I am a part of a much bigger story, a story that calls me to live out my longings for a gentler and better place.  Making it possible to act on these yearnings each day within the roles that I am wearing.

 

Therefore, I allow myself to yearn and dream.  I look for those subtle places where my dreams and my duties overlap.  I look forward to those times, knowing that they always come – even in the midst of winter.

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Christmas in July

Christmas in July, what a fun idea. To recreate some of the activities and meals that we enjoy in the midst of winter right in the middle of summer. Seems like such an outrageous thing, to celebrate Christmas in the middle of the heat of summer. But is it? Is it really that crazy to think about the birth of Jesus in July, or shall we remain confined to thinking about this even during an arbitrary date sometime in December that we can’t even really agree on? There are those who say that he really was born in Spring. And does it matter? Does it matter when He was born? Does it matter that he wasn’t born in July?
Christmas in July! A time to think about the greatest gift that God could ever give us. To come and dwell among us, so say the Christmas songs. To walk along side, to breathe our air, to taste our food, to hear our songs. To feel our fear. To feel our pain. To experience loneliness and sorrow. To be betrayed. To be misunderstood. To choose to love us still. After all that, to choose to live for us. To still choose to die for us. After all that.
And so, as He chose to live among us and love us. As He chose to give his life for us, I choose today to live in His grace and celebrate Christmas in July!

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