August is a mixed-bag month for me.
I love it because it’s summer and moves at a slower pace. The bushy blooms on my lantana attract butterflies, a perfect excuse for sitting on the porch. My birthday falls this month, a perfect excuse for key lime pie.
I don’t so much love that my pie turns mushy after a handful of minutes on the porch. The summer sun has also baked most everything in southwest Virginia. My colorful annuals turned crispy a couple of weeks ago. My driveway radiates more heat than the coals on my grill. I can’t even stand to walk barefoot across my deck, a tragedy for any mountain girl.
August also carries a certain restlessness. By the time we flip the calendar, the summer sauté has lasted two solid months. The excitement we felt in May (woohoo – summer is here!) has turned to ennui by August (good grief, will this heat never end?)
It’s an in-between time of year, the best part of summer behind us and the expectation of better things ahead.
It doesn’t help that merchants have already stocked shelves with displays for Halloween (huh?), Thanksgiving (seriously?), and Christmas (are you kidding me?).
I sometimes wonder if August is a metaphor for day-to-day life.
There are things we love and things we don’t, much of it wrapped in a sense of restless discontent. Waiting for something to change or improve. Looking forward to something different, something that promises happiness.
That longing desire comes naturally to us, hard-wired into our spirits by God. Solomon observed that God placed eternity in our hearts (Eccl 3:11), a stirring that we were created for something else, for something different than this world.
As the birthdays tally up, so tally my imaginings of heaven. But in those longings and imaginings, I sometimes find I’m not fully present.
I find I’m missing the joys and opportunities of right now.
A clear sunny day.
A steaming cup of coffee.
My daily crossword.
My neighbor, ambling down the street with her dog.
The cashier, mindlessly scanning my groceries.
Cicadas singing, children laughing, marching bands practicing.
The sounds of August.
Yes, I’m looking forward to cooler temps. Yes, I’m looking forward to the holidays with the people I love. Yes, I’m looking forward to all-things-new. But not at the expense all-things-now.
“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”
~John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent
Care to share?