Each year, we are given one summer to enjoy. What we choose to do with it, is up to us. We may decide to do many different things with the time we have. We could travel and create new memories and experiences, or perhaps we could make new friends. We may also choose to feed old relationships in our lives. We can even choose to work through it, hoping to rest someday in the autumn or winter. We have many choices, but only one summer.
I find myself thinking on this first day of September about what I did with my summer. Perhaps, like many people, I pursued some distant goal, with the idea that someday, once my work was complete, I would enjoy some day in the sun, relaxing and laughing with the people in my life. Maybe I would play catch with one of my grandchildren or I would just walk quietly alone in the woods, listening to the songs of the natural world. Perhaps I would toss the ball with my dogs, or stare at the stars with a friend while we laughed into the night.
The truth, however, is that I sometimes get lost in the work before me and miss the world under my nose. I am often guilty of living so far into the future with my plans, that I forget that there is a present. Then one day I wake up, and it’s September! It’s not a bad thing to experience such moments of clarity, however. It reminds me to “consider the lilies of the field. They neither toil nor spin.” Nature lives in the eternal moment of the present, not worrying about the next day, and all is provided for in its time. Humans, spend much of their time in the past and future, and in doing so, we never truly exist as we are meant to live.
We confuse what we want with what we need, and in doing so, we toil and spin to no avail. Our needs are often met, just as the needs of the insects, plants, and animals are met for them. As I sit here today, I realize that I find food when I need it, I find love all around me, and I feel purpose in my life’s work. Anything else that I think I am working towards is simply a mirage that distracts me from the summer that I find myself living in. Perhaps in a kind of irony, the passage of time reminds me to not forget that the only reality is the present, the very breath I am taking in this moment. After all, I am promised nothing more. That realization brings me peace on this first Sunday of September. After all, neither summer nor the year are yet over, and there is so much life to be lived in the eternal moments that lie ahead. I don’t want to look past any of them and miss a single experience in what remains of my year.