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Slowing Summer Down & Speeding Up What Matters

Photo: Ron Doke, Creative Commons, cc license

Photo: Dennis Larsen, Creative Commons, cc license

Throaty Bryan Adams’-style singing drifts over from the church nearby. Flashy classic, sport, and muscle cars line up in rows, hoods propped open, motors gleaming at an annual summer car show. Live music streams past the aroma of grilled hot dogs, steaming metal in the sun, and aerosol spray cans.

“Soo, I sorta did my hair,” my nineteen year old son texts me in droll nonchalance. I grin and ask for photos, already picturing red, green and blue dye on a temporary spiked hairdo from last year’s car show.

My husband straps on sandals and holds the door open for our six year old. The door blows shut behind them as they walk to church too.

I’m grabbing my green water bottle and jumping into time with you, friends. The counter behind me is lined with half-done dishes, crimson watermelon slices in a bag, and last night’s coffee press.

Can you smell the campfire? Wood smoke still emanates from my skin, hair, and clothing. Pony tails hang down my shoulders to rest on my chest, and can you feel it here with me? This slipping away of summer?

Thirty of us teens and adults piled up bikes in a friend’s driveway and dropped sleeping bags in the yard for yesterday’s Bike and Camp youth event. Bike riding, backyard volleyball, and cooking over a fire brings people together. Tin foil-wrapped packets of potatoes, carrots, and onions smoldered beside ground hamburger, and night fell before we pulled out the marshmallows and chocolate.

“Lord, give me a great love for these teens and for these people in my life,” I asked him at one point, slipping quiet under a variegated green maple.

He does, and we all show love in different ways. Whether extrovert or introvert, no matter our personality styles, we slide into familiar ways of relating to the people around us. Some friends love the people around them by scraping eggs on a heavy skillet over smoking fires. Others shake dice in a cup game for hours, bluffing with a smirk; or start up dozens of conversations.

On top of blue trampolines while bouncing and ducking, or on wooden picnic benches beside the blueberry crumble bars, these one on one times with others are what God uses most often to grow deeper love within me for people. I love those chances to see into people’s eyes, to hear their stories, and to get beyond the noise and busyness into greater depth.

Sunshine filters through fern-like branches outside now, and my husband and youngest son have returned. Noise commences. Highway hums whine into the distance, dissipating quickly, and a cardinal trills nearby.

Summer slips by, and our moments with the people in our lives flit by too. Grab today with me?

4 Comments

  1. Floyd on July 27, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Great and sentimental reflection of how precious our gift of time here is… Yeah, I'll grab today with you.

  2. Jennifer Dougan on August 3, 2014 at 1:33 am

    Floyd,

    I've been remiss at replying. Sorry about that. 🙂

    Jennifer Dougan
    jenniferdougan.com

  3. Lisa notes... on August 4, 2014 at 2:38 am

    Oh yes. I want to learn to grab each day I'm in, more and more. Thanks for the reminder. My 19-year-old is sitting here in the room with me right now; I'm so grateful for THIS moment!

  4. Cheryl Barker on August 8, 2014 at 5:23 am

    Jennifer, summer is indeed slipping by too fast. Love that thought of grabbing today. I need this reminder this week. Hope you have a great weekend filled with beautiful moments!

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