Thursday, June 23, 2005

Summer Solstice: Blues or Wahoos?

Tuesday marked one of the saddest days of the year for me. Why, you might ask? After all, it was the official beginning of summer (yes, it's come to New England despite our darkest fears). As the long daylight hours stretched into twilight, I took Strider, our yellow lab, for a walk through the leafy, quiet streets of our town. The roses were in bloom, the lawns were emerald-green, and Strider was in total ecstasy as he sniffed and marked at leisure. So, why was I so glum?

You see, from Wednesday on, the days wane. We lose minutes of light, the sun sets earlier, winter creeps closer. And that makes me sad. Yes, I'm one of those people who focus on losses. Graduations, weddings, family reunions, holidays ... they all make me sad. Things will never be the same again, I tell myself. I'm pretty darn good at grieving.

I have friends, however, who look ahead with joy to what's next. Another grade of school to conquer, a new season to enjoy, a more mature stage of life with more freedom and faith. Hooray! To them, June 21st means that summer's here, and we should definitely party.

Mourning and dancing. Jesus showed us that they go hand-in-hand, at least on this side of heaven. We need to be good at doing both. Looking back and remembering helps us to recognize what God accomplished during that season. It readies us to let go and wait with expectancy for what's coming next. And looking forward with faith is a non-negotiable for a follower of Jesus.

Do you wallow in the sadness of change without moving on to celebrate fresh starts, like I'm tempted to do? Or are you the type to rush into the future without reflecting on good gifts received and hard lessons learned? Strange though it might seem, we humanoids need to recognize our thirst in desolation in order to drink the Spirit's full consolation. So, you glass-half-full types out there, take a moment to turn and look back. Stay there for a while, even if it feels uncomfortable to think about what you're leaving behind. And as for you glass-half-empty navel-gazing types like me: Let's PARTY! Summer's FINALLY here!

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