It’s been only a week since my last final, my last essay, my last class. Yet it seems ages since I bid friends goodbye, and temporarily exchanged realities. The world of academia, sweet community and stately pines has been put on hold while I return to the world I left behind.
I’m back to the familiar landscapes of my youth, where memories emerge from the most mundane of landmarks. Even the weather is familiar. The sporadic cool days of late May will soon exchange its lively greenery for sun-faded grass of July. Nights filled with tornado sirens and flash floods will be exchanged for still stifling evenings where we will be free to venture outside.
Drives through the rural areas near my home are fraught with distractions. Tiny calves enjoying the freshness of the world gaze at me with wide eyes as I pass by. Nights are filled with the awe inspiring diversion of glowing orbs whose praises illuminate the heavens. Conversations are interrupted by abrupt swerving in attempts to spare the lives of gutsy turtles that eek their way across the pavement.
Currently my favorite roadside distraction has to be the wildflowers. These blooms gaze brightly at the sun, unaware they are being admired (as most truly beautiful things often are). Though it seems a bit cruel, one cannot help but think plucking them and placing them in a vase is the best way to cling to their delicate beauty as long as possible.
My memories of this past school year are much like those flowers. I want to hold on to these sweet moments and keep them from fading, for university life already seems so distant. Coming here is a bit like putting life on pause and forgetting about the future.
I look at the empty boxes in my calendar and though I hate to admit it, I am afraid. No longer is my time dictated by homework. Oddly enough, I actually get to decide what to do with most of my time, and ponder how to make the best of it. Finishing finals week has left me antsy, as if I constantly must be doing something. I need to learn how to truly relax and rest when it is needed. Yet hanging over me is the knowledge that something about this place makes me lose my motivation to do anything worthwhile. This summer especially, time is a gift. In the midst of my scholarly pursuits I always tell myself I would do such-and-such-thing if I only had the time. Now I am faced with the challenge of that: will I actually do those things now that time presents itself? Opportunities for good things rarely come without at least a bit of trepidation, for they are usually coupled with a chance of failure. I have decided that this fear cannot dictate my summer. I might not have everything worked out like I want it to be, but that’s not a terrible thing. God’s grace is ever present, and every day I wake up to the reminder of his faithfulness in the form of Lamentations 3:21-26. I literally awake to it because I carved into the wet plaster of my wall at the end of a particularly difficult summer when I was spackling my room.
I find myself almost a year removed from that day, yet my need for God’s faithfulness is still very much present. So here I am, rambling on in an attempt to sort it all out and to preach to myself:
No matter how mundane, exciting, simple, difficult, unproductive or fruitful this summer proves to be, no matter how many “successes” or “failures” in tasks, ministry or relationships may come about, one thing is certain. The Lord God, the maker of delicate wildflowers, the sparkling spheres of the night and those pine trees I miss so much is the same God who has always proved faithful. He ties my two realities together, and proves the only constant. He knows my past and He knows my future, and He is what will get me through the present. Yes, there is a challenge before me, and I must do my best to meet it. Yet I must remember that if only I can keep my eyes on Him this summer, no matter how interesting or boring my summer tales might be at the end of it, if I continue to pursue Him, obey him and live in His love, this summer will be a smashing success.