By Rev. Darlene Stensby
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under Heaven.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1
We who live in the upper Midwest are fortunate to enjoy four distinct seasons that manifest themselves, one by one, in their entire splendor. Do you ever pause to reflect upon which of the four is your favorite season? Many people may say that it is this one, the one we are enjoying right now, the season of summer.
Those light and airy greens of early spring have given way to the lusher and darker shades of summer. Brilliant color dots the landscape in the shrubs and flowers blooming so spectacularly in this bright and beautiful season. The bold colors call us to take notice and pay attention, to turn from what preoccupies us and take a good look and live, for a time, in the moment. The days are longer, giving us more time to enjoy the beauties of the earth and our interactions with one another.
I invite you to reflect on memories of summers past, the ones deep down in your memory; summers when you were a child who loved to play outside, chase fireflies in the dark, swim in the lake, have picnics and parties, celebrate the fourth of July and other summer holidays, or simply sit lazily in a lawn chair, sipping lemonade and chatting with friends and family. Memories of simple times from the past can warm our hearts even when winter rolls around again, as we know it must. It can be good for our souls to remember experiences and people that have lit up our lives in other days.
The gifts of God that surround us in Creation are given to us by the grace of God, the Creator, who undoubtedly hopes and expects that we will thoroughly appreciate and enjoy these gifts. For God considers us to be the crowns of Creation.
Hear the words of the psalmist:
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established, what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor” ~Psalm 8.
What a fine confirmation of the holiness of the earth and of each one of us fortunate enough to be part of its divine splendor. Take time this summer to cherish your good old summertime memories. But allow space as well to savor the present moment and what it holds. Go outside. Find a lovely garden where you can sit and listen to soothing sounds all around you. As you do so, may the peace of God wash over you and fill you with a quiet joy.
The Rev. Darlene Stensby serves as Chaplain at Langton Place, a Presbyterian Homes & Services Community located in Roseville, Minnesota.