It always takes time to get into the slower days of Summer and I’m often frustrated by the length of the school holidays. It seems I may be addicted to being productive. But this is not the way of surrender and I’m a fool making control my idol.
My favourite place to go in the Summer is Cornwall, I love the coast and the Atlantic air, it’s true there is something special about the light there. We often head there towards the end of the Summer. Driving down the M5 I see fields of golden stubble dotted with giant wheels of wheat. In other fields combine harvesters swirl clouds of fine dust as grain is harvested and poured into alongside trucks. The fields of harvest being gathered in, the peak of this year’s growth from fields on the cusp of the next. The harvest of the old year being stored for the next one, the old and the new meeting.
Harvest is a time in between, a middle, a pause.
Summer – the crops ripe, the temperatures at their peak, the days full of sunlight hours. The natural year is the same in our lives. It is the height of our own year of production where we take our own pauses. Spending our days in recreation, lazy, aimless days that serve as an end and a beginning.
When I spend days at the beach, watching the waves turn and crash on the shore, I sit with God and think. Away from the normal daily requirements I re-examine the past year, my priorities and my heart, I revisit my calling and passions. The rhythm of the waves as they crash over again and again, the move forward – the turning back, seems to me like the steady pace of our days. The regular over turning of the waves all adds up to overall movement of the tide. The turns forward, and drawing back, the tide creeps forwards slow and steady, sometimes moving further forward with power, sometimes tentative.
I see God using this time to tell me something. This pause in the regular – a time of refreshment, restoring the essence of who I am and reviving me with the fresh atlantic waves and breeze.
At the end of the Summer, I see tractors pulling ploughs through those previously golden fields. The metalwork churning up the brown earth, turning over the soil and mixing in the fresh air. The fields being readied for planting as the cycle of seasons starts again.
I see God doing this with the field of my heart, turning over the best soil of the old and turning in the fresh air of his living breath, reviving me. My pause to examine what was good, and what was not fruitful, refreshed by the break, ready for what’s next.
We harvest from the combining, the turning in, of the old and the new.
When I talk to friends about the holiday I notice the words used – refreshing, revived, and others used here, all prefixed with ‘re’. The words carrying the meaning of a cycle, a coming around again, like the seasons.
Summer is a deep breath, a pause, a rest, a wait and a reconsider of the past year’s fruit in our lives. It’s a return to the best of ourselves, and a space for the new things God is calling us to. It’s a restore and a recreate. It is often hard to wait and rest, I’m impatient to move forwards. But Summer is needed to move forwards well.
The next season is in many ways the same as the old and yet in other ways new. The same daily routines but a renewed vision. The age-old rhythm of time and the old things God daily whispers that we hear with new ears and see in new ways.
This is the refresh and the restore – the new and the old. We take from the past the good, the truth, what we saw God do and we combine it with the new – a fresh wind, his living spirit, the new thing he’s doing. God’s word alive in us, coming alive in our daily reality and walk with him. The time is in his hands, I have to trust Him.
This is Summer, God’s refreshment through restoring the best, and providing the new day, new mercies, new life, the new thing, ready for the next harvest.