I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Blue skies from horizon to horizon. Lazy drone of a plane. Sunlight filtered through dancing leaves. Every color of green on exhibit (the corn around our house is wearing a shade so flamboyant with life right now it could grow legs a walk away). A kite tail of white butterflies lifting and diving over the purple thistles. Hummingbirds hovering over geraniums.
I present to you, Summer.
It’s Solstice, and in my humble opinion, the most wonderful time of the year. (Andy Williams, can we agree to disagree on this one?) As I’ve watched this summer’s birth, I’ve had one phrase run through my mind over and over: what a wonder. Watching baby wrens leave their nest in our basement? What a wonder! (Husband had a slightly different phrase about bird-watching from within the house. But he’s too much a softy to disrupt the nest or the hearts of three girls thrilled to be watching, so he let it go. Just this once, of course.) The kids playing sweaty, meeting new friends at the park? What a wonder. The smell of summer rain? What a wonder. The rainbow reaching high as the heavens from the setting sun, turning the whole sky aglow? WHAT A WONDER!
My love letter to summer could go on for days. It’s a season of extravagance; copious in color, in warmth, in daylight hours, in opportunities, in life.
Yet I have unpleasant tendencies of either turning the lack of schedule into laziness, or turning it into a scarcity. I told Dave several days ago I felt like summer was already passing us by too quickly. He responded, “I don’t think it’s even started yet.”
This year I’ve had a vivid desire to live these lazy hazy crazy days of summer more purposefully. (Anybody else just take a 30 minute Gilmore Girls detour after that phrase? Good luck getting that song out of your head. Thanks, Taylor.) To be more intentional about how we play and rest and spend our energy and time.
I’ve identifying some priorities, some better time management practices, some ideas to make sure each week we learn and explore and connect and love with purpose.
Mostly, I’m intent on noticing the wonder. The word “wonderful” is perhaps overused and easily sounds like everything is rolling hunky-dory. That’s not my life, nor anyone’s that I know, and certainly is not the world around us. But considered as inspiring delight, pleasure, or admiration, there are wonderful things everywhere!
Some days we just have to look a little harder.
Honestly? I’ve spent the last year noticing more keenly the brokenness, the injustice, the great human heartache, be it of refugees, victims of hate crimes and racism, or the teens living here in my tiny town. It’s often had me like a deer in the headlights, wide-eyed and paralyzed. It’s made me hesitant to embrace laughter and joy, afraid that light-hearted fun would somehow disregard the suffering simultaneously present.
But it hit me again lately that it isn’t either/or. It’s both/and, especially when it comes to joy and sadness. They don’t negate one another. If anything, they validate the other.
I’m committed to empathy and justice, to holding up weary hands, to listening and grieving. But I’m also committed to better embracing the joy. To living wonder-full, inspired and delighted by the good, meaningful, beauty around.
Summer seems like a pretty great teacher.
I have a hunch that living more wonder-full makes for less wander-lust. There isn’t time for restless discontentment when we’re wowed by the beauty right before us.
Here’s to summer. I hope it is flowers and fresh fruit, laughter and play, adventure and rest, sunsets and fireflies, meaningful work and relationships. I hope your heart is flooded with all the goodness of God.
I hope your summer is wonder-full.
I’ll be posting a photo nearly (and I’m careful to phrase it that way) every day, of some wonder that catches my eye this summer. If you capture your summer moments on Instagram, stick the hashtag #summerofwonderful on as well, I’d love to see what all you're noticing.
Here’s a reminder I’m giving myself, in case you need it too: not all the photos have to be incredible shots, and not all the sentiments behind them have to be giddy with happiness. Wonder can be found in the frustrating, grimy, disappointing, and down-right rotten days too. Look around. Look around!
What a wildly wonderful world, God!
You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
Made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.
~Ps. 104, Message