A Waning Summer: A Weekly Reflection

By Patheos staff

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

Here’s the famous (infamous?) “Turn, Turn, Turn” thanks to YouTube!

I get melancholy at this time of the year. It’s inevitable, really: not only is it the last gasp of summer, but it’s also my birthday. So Labor Day for me marks another milepost: beginnings and endings.

Kids are heading back to school, parents are smiling again!, summer vacations are over, and people everywhere are gearing up for work and new beginnings. That is, of course, if you are employed . . . The unemployed are still on “summer break,” still waiting for the “imposed vacation” to end, and life to begin again.

And another birthday means another year older, another year of experiences, and learning, and life: ups and downs, sadness and joy, beginnings and endings . . .

It’s good to have these mile-markers in our lives. They force us to reflect, to slow down, to contemplate. They make us pay attention . . .

Sometimes that mindfulness brings us to new insights: about what matters, about who is important, about friendships, and family, and values . . .

But sometimes, that “paying attention” also teaches us painful, albeit valuable, lessons. Sometimes, as we watch the summer wane and we watch the kids return to school, we realize in a new way that we’ve gotten stuck in routine, or have lost the joy of our youth.

Sometimes, when we celebrate birthdays, we realize that we can’t delude ourselves anymore: the mirror and the scale don’t lie. We’re not young anymore -- youthful, maybe, but not young. Middle-aged isn’t so bad, is it?

And sometimes, while we’re contemplating the mile markers of our lives, we have the time to appreciate the ones who mean the most to us, the ones who have journeyed with us along the road. We might be forced to realize that some of those we thought we’d share our lives with are no longer with us . . . or aren’t as important or even faithful as we thought, and so we have to say goodbye tearfully.

But, in our contemplation, we also see the ones who have always been there, always faithful, always walking with us, and we come to appreciate them in a new light. And in that contemplation, we see and experience our God: behind us, in us, and before us. In each of the moments of our lives, God is standing with us by each of the mile markers, gently guiding us to the beginning of the Endless Summer of eternity . . .

Now pray . . .