Friday, June 20, 2008


Today is the Summer Solstice. More than just a day of the year, it's an actual moment in time -- this year it is at 2359 UTC. I think that's cool: a moment in time when the "sun stands still". On the negative side: with time zone differences, that means for me the sun will stand still just 1 minute before 5:00 pm on a Friday!

Most people think of today as the first day of Summer. For others, it marks the mid-point. Like life for the poor characters in Shakespeare's famous play, midsummer is sometimes tumultuous. Think about summer rainstorms.When they're building up, and the sky begins to darken, everything seems ominous. The wind sometimes begins to blow -- other times it stops completely and everything gets eery.
Summer storms
come and go, but
in the midst of them
it seems
they'll last forever.
I suppose "sun stands still" is an apt description with regard to how long the daylight lasts, but this whole "stopping" idea fits very little else. Sometimes life gets untethered and I feel adrift, longing for some constancy.

Right now our front and back yard are both torn up; in the middle of a reconstruction project. The finished result will be peaceful and green and inviting. Right now it is just a bunch of dirt that keeps getting moved from one place to the next. The front walkway and the back patio are now almost complete. Or I should say were almost complete. The front walkway has to be completely redone. The workers somehow misunderstood our directions. They got the right kind of pavers, and installed them in the right pattern -- but the pattern itself is oriented at the wrong angle. So the whole thing has to be picked up, the already-cut stones discarded, the uncut stones re-placed (after re-preparing the pathway's foundation of sand and gravel) and then the borders re-formed from newly cut stones. There's about a 0% chance of being able to re-use any of the already cut stones.
Two steps forward
One step back
As another example: where we live in Salem, Oregon, the weather has been pretty goofy this year. The other day I was driving around and it was sunny. Then it became overcast, then it started to rain. Then, while still raining, the sun came out again. Then the rain stopped and it was just sunny again. OK, OK, I know what you're thinking: "Duh -- it is Oregon!" but what made it weird was -- it kept cycling like that...every 10 minutes or so for about an hour:
  1. Sunny.
  2. Overcast.
  3. Rainy.
  4. Rain with Sun.
  5. Repeat over and over.
At first I wished God would make up His mind and just pick one. Then I thought it was kind of cool how it kept repeating.

As I've thought back on that experience and shared the story with a few people, I finally realized God was speaking to me through that hour of weird weather:
Keith, I never change, but life all around you is always in a constant (often cyclical) state of change and growth.
He is Creator and Life-Giver -- and He never changes. So He is always creating and always giving life.

I don't know if He designed it for the sun to stay out really late so we could get more done since there is so much going on -- or if we overly-busy humans just naturally try to do more since it is light later. I've never been one to feel guilty for sitting on the couch reading a good book on a bright sunny day, but at this time in my life I'm trying to listen as He teaches me about real rest for my soul. Apparently it has little or nothing to do with inactivity.

It is Summer here in The Orchard. Many things are in the midst of change, but I'm learning that is an OK thing.

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