As one living on the Canadian prairies, I know that winter cold can stretch from October into June. We often get only a tiny taste of the transitional seasons of spring and autumn. This year we moved from frost warnings straight into temperatures soaring into the nineties. All at once I felt like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s character in The Great Gatsby: “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
When daily life has so much sameness, more so during these Covid days, newness of life refreshes and holds promise.
We plant seeds expecting a harvest of tasty vegetables and vibrant flowers. We visit the beach and the nearby National Park, and when I can’t walk, we drive. Also, we eat salads, berries and homemade ice cream. The ceiling fans cast strange shadows as they keep our home cool. We are always a bit confused about time when dark doesn’t fully arrive till close to 11:00 PM.
DON’T FORSAKE GRATITUDE
Yes, there is still pain and lack of ability to be who I once was, but as Ann Voskamp reminds me below, I only make matters worse when I forsake gratitude.
“I have lived pain and my life can tell. I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid summer nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives.”
Yes, God deserves our praise and thanksgiving in whatever season we find ourselves.
A poem by Carl Sandburg depicts summer this way:
Shine on, O moon of summer.
Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,
All silver under your rain to-night.
An Italian boy is sending songs to you to-night from an accordion.
A Polish boy is out with his best girl; they marry next month;
to-night they are throwing you kisses.
An old man next door is dreaming over a sheen that sits in a
cherry tree in his back yard.
The clocks say I must go—I stay here sitting on the back porch drinking
white thoughts you rain down.
Shine on, O moon,
Shake out more and more silver changes.
A POEM OF GRATITUDE
My challenge to you this mid-July day is to write a poem of gratitude for summer.
Here are some ideas to help you begin:
- Start each line or section with the words “summer is.”
- Contrast summer with another season.
- If summer is a hard season for you, write that too.
- Remember what summer was like as a child.
- Pick one object that speaks to you of summer, as I did in the poem that follows.
ODE TO MY MOSQUITO NET
meters of white, soft billows fold
bright against incoming dark
how many secrets do you hold
in your protective embrace
mosquitoes cannot penetrate
your life given up for me
you never rest or hesitate
to foil invasive attempts
what can I offer back to you
worthy of your sacrifice
night after night you remain true
hour by hour on guard you wait
no words of gratitude spoken
by the one you humbly serve
isn’t your cotton heart broken
by such total disregard
so now I’ll lift my voice in praise
to you, of you, for you friend
songs of thanksgiving I’ll raise
never will it be enough
for all you’ve done, will ever do
for me the vain receiver
allowed to sleep the long night through
while you, ever awake
your dreams never come true
Pour yourself a tall refreshing glass of your favorite summer beverage, toss in a few ice cubes, and see what words unfold.
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We look forward to reading your poems!
Chronic Joy® Staff Writer and Prayer Team
Karin is a handmaiden of the Lord, saved by grace, a worshiper, a poet, a broken heart, a lover of words, His work in progress on the Potter's wheel. She is hungry for truth and amazed by love. After five years in Africa, Karin and Rick (her beloved husband of twenty years), are back in rural Canada where chronic pain drives her to the feet of Jesus. She is powered by prayer, love, and many cups of strong coffee. She is the author of From Ashes to Glory (A Psalm a Day).
Gratefulness is choosing to focus on God rather than our circumstances. Fixing our eyes on Jesus reminds us of His gracious, compassionate love and unending faithfulness.