A summer solstice. Longest day of the year. It is a nod to the light. Marking the beginning of summer. We've had plenty of summer already - 12 days this year in the 90s, and it's the middle of June. This is far from normal. But so typical Chicago - a city of extremes.
We celebrated the solstice with a beautiful green salad from the summer's first lettuce.
I spent a few days in Michigan last week. I came home with a bag full of some of the state's select cherries. Every farm and orchard mentioned how horrible this year's crop has been. I was saddened to hear how they've all been struggling in this strange spring and summer season. I was reminded of how incredibly dependent we are on the earth's rhythms, at the mercy of nature's movements and perhaps the result of our abuse and neglect of it all.
A friend was reminding me today of the need to pay close attention. We should be keenly aware of the people and things and events in our days and respond relevantly. Lately I have been moving through days and weeks with little to no expectation. I, more or less, walk, see, and do the same things. As a result, I think I have made a habit of responding the same, regardless, and expecting nothing of myself or anyone else.
This, friends, is a great sadness. And a great shame.
I fear I've missed out on a great deal. I refuse to accept this as what just is. I am drawing on the spirit deep within me to fight this sense of apathy, because I believe we were created to see and feel and sense distinctly, acting uniquely. Yet, I imagine this is something that happens to humanity all the time. We are creatures of habit, and most of us fear what we do not know.
But, someone lead me recently to this realization: I like the freedom of the unknown as much as I fear it.
There is a great deal of my faith and spirituality that I do not fully understand. If I consider my Creator, he must be much greater than my reality or reasoning, otherwise he would not inspire such awe.
I've been re-reading Donald Miller's book, Blue Like Jazz, wanting to refresh my memory before seeing the film recently released. In his chapter on worship, he closes with these words:
"At the end of the day, when I am lying in bed and I know the chances of any of our theology being exactly right are a million to one, I need to know that God has things figured out, that if my math is wrong we are still going to be okay. And wonder is that feeling we get when we let go of our silly answers, our mapped out rules that we want God to follow. I don't think there is any better worship than wonder."
Wonder. I've been talking about it a lot, but I don't think I've been paying enough attention to even experience it. If you aren't mindful, you will miss that sense of marvel.
So today, I wonder at this: the sun's ability to set at 8:30pm.
And maybe this: