Summer’s promise…

The dust is settling. The drama has subsided. After this latest storm, my life is regaining familiar contours. Yesterday, I scheduled a hair appointment and I went grocery shopping on my own. I’m still home, determined to give my body and soul space to recover. But I will return to work next week and begin to pick up the pieces.

In this quiet, I am reading and listening to the birds outside my door. The hummingbirds dive-bomb my head when I get too close to their feeders. The other day, Keith and Tyler arranged the furniture out on the deck. Keith spent yesterday mowing the lawn and cleaning up the accumulated debris. We are preparing for summer.

Winter is hard in this part of the world. Storms blow through bringing snow and ice. The landscape is stripped bare, the vibrant colors of summer and fall are whisked away leaving a monotone of gray behind. And it lasts a long time… Spring on the calendar begins in March, but winter in the landscape doesn’t really give up its hold until late April. The month of May is a glorious unfolding here.

New Englanders embrace summer with an almost religious fervor. The glory of green lushness, thick days fragrant with life, and the relief from the harsher months combine to create both anticipation and the determination not to miss the gift of a New England summer. We revel in summer, determined to embrace the entirety of it.

– We endure the black flies to plant flowers and a fruitful harvest.
– We head out on to patios, decks, porches, and lawns to enjoy friends and laughter under the wide sky.
– We flock to lakes, swimming holes, pools, and even the frigid ocean to cool off.
– We eat outside, on sidewalks, hidden patios, and thick blankets.
– We gather on the front porch to watch summer storms roll in.
– We lick remnants of ice cream, watermelon, and blueberry cobbler from our sticky fingers.
– We spray on bug spray and swat the mosquitos that linger at the fire.

I believe it is the contrast between the harsh barrenness of winter and the lush glory of summer that makes us appreciate its bounty.

In this season of my life, I too am appreciating this contrast.

Recently, a friend of mine brought flowers and stayed for a visit. We talked about the way forward and she reminded me that I have been given the gift of perspective. A life-threatening diagnosis, a successful surgery, a positive prognosis, and grace.

In the days and weeks I lived between the diagnosis and the prognosis, it wasn’t the big things I longed for. It was the little things I wanted. The chance to keep living this life.

– The grace to watch a little boy become a man.
– The grace to hold hands with my dark-eyed boy/man.
– The grace to celebrate my children’s victories.
– The grace to encourage them in their challenges.
– The grace to create a magical day for another bride.
– The grace to help shape this family as we grow.
– The grace to welcome grandbabies.
– The grace to reach out and touch a friend.
– The grace to share my words and touch a heart.
– The grace to live.

I don’t know what the future holds. This crisis reminded me again that nothing is promised beyond this moment. I approached my fiftieth birthday as a halfway point, and it could have been my ending instead. And yet, today is glorious! In this aftermath of the storm, I am appreciating my life in all its imperfection.

I pray that you might embrace the glory that is your life today. It is precious!

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