Is Summer Killing You?
What I’ve been hearing recently are stories about summertime dilemmas. “The relatives are visiting.” “I will be away visiting my (sister, brother, father, mothers, grands, etc.) “I’m catching up on the all the yard work I’ve left until warmer weather.” “I’m finally going to finish (fill in the blank.)” We all set up impossible schedules, tasks, objectives, and projects that leave us unsatisfied at the end of the summer because they’re not all completed. We’re worn out with visits, albeit enjoyable, by running the summer hotel.
When I lived in Maine, after suffering through a few summers of interminable visiting, someone gave me a piece of advice. She said, “enjoy your summer visits but tell them there’s a rule: the next visit has to occur in winter.” I’m afraid the winter here is too mild for that to work, but the point is, we’re all worn out by the time the travel and visiting season concludes.
Is this your idea of recreation? Maybe you’ve lost control of your calendar and that runs your life. So, what’s the answer? Maybe it’s about rhythm. Rushing from one thing to the next isn’t my idea of recreation, it’s a recipe for frustration and disappointment. There’s an answer to this fix we get ourselves into and believe it or not it’s straight from the Gospel.
First, let’s break down the word “recreation.” There’s “re” and there’s “creation.” Even though we might think we can create the world in six days, that’s already been done. Our job is to honor creation and preserve it. Personally, we’re not going to do much good in that regard if we’re tired and cranky. The prefix “re” means to repeat or do it again. So, we are using a word that means to restore or recreate ourselves when we engage in playtime, entertaining, travel or summer activities. When we attempt to move at the speed of light, this doesn’t happen.
Jesus’ example can be followed. The Gospels tell us he went into the public market, went to dinner, engaged and taught people. He pronounced that sins had been forgiven and he healed people. But, he didn’t do it continuously. We are told he would withdraw to a quiet place. Why? He knew that he needed to reconnect with God and himself, to be restored before facing more people. It was a good balance: engagement then retreat.
So, enjoy your busy summer but remember that quiet time, personal time, reading, reflection, praying, meditation and personal creative projects will restore your energy and allow you to reenter the world around you with vigor and good humor. Put that time on your calendar. Remember, no one but you can give you permission for time off and “recreation.”