summer is quickly coming to a close. last week i sat outside on duke street and talked with my dear friend hannah about this fact as i sipped iced coffee. (i do not even like coffee, but it's cheaper than tea at square one and so for the past three weeks or so, i have ordered it every time i meet up with hannah. drinking iced coffee seems like a good thing to do in the summer, specifically when sitting outside on steps watching traffic and discussing the deepest parts of life.)
hannah said she wanted summer's end to feel like dying in your sleep... natural and easy, pain-free. i've been thinking about it a lot. normally the transition from home to school is not entirely pain free. a dull ache creeps up on me and often hinders the joyful anticipation i have for the next place. this transitory life is not without tension.
i am hopeful however, that the dull ache will be different this time. hopeful that the ache will not be so much of a nostalgic longing to return to all that this summer has been, but instead a dull ache of gratitude, an ache that appears because life has been so rich and satisfying and i do not want to brush it off in a couple sentence response to the inevitable question: "how was your summer?!" for it has been rich, my friends. the days overflow with (at times unbearable) beauty.
if this summer's end is indeed comparable to dying in your sleep, then i think my breath is slowing and my eyes are growing heavy... and it feels just fine. it feels natural. something else is coming and i know that it is good. this preparation however, has not been without resistance and difficulty. allowing my eyes to close and my breath to slow has been a lesson in trust.
on saturday i set out for a new adventure. for the entire semester i will be studying outdoor education. the thought of doing experiential, tangible learning for the next four months brings me great joy. the first part of the trip will be spent backpacking in northern california. for this i am both thrilled and terrified, but i am finding that is exactly where God requires us to be so that we can grow and learn and thrive in ways we never thought possible.
the (rather terrifying) cry of my heart as of late has been to learn to depend fully on God, to trust him wholly. he is teaching me this in ways that i did not expect, in ways that i often (shamefully) complain about. physically i have been wrestling with knee pain along with a bizarre leg infection that has hindered my walking. emotionally i have been challenged as i found out that the one girl i knew doing this semester with me is no longer going. it seems as though slowly God is stripping me of everything that i am clinging to that is not him. he is the only one who can provide me with the strength physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, for the long journey ahead.
not only that, but God is reminding me that he calls us to the places that we are (and the places we are going.)...and that he fully equips us with everything that we need to not just survive in that place, but to thrive and grow and become the people he intends for us to be. he equips us with what we need to love and be loved, to give and receive, to learn and ask questions ...
and along with the reminders, he's encouraging me with emails of solidarity, cards in the mail, and text books that teach about backcountry baking, woohoo! slowly my fears are melting into some sort of trust and excitement for whatever lies ahead.
and it's funny, because this summer i set out to memorize psalm 25, and though i have not quite accomplished that goal (yet...) the very first verse is perhaps the one i need most.
'To you oh Lord i lift up my soul,
in you i trust oh my God.'
God is good.
so here's to the natural death of summer, to summer drifting off peacefully in sleep.
here's to my summer eyes closing so that they can be opened to all that autumn has in store.