As perfect & spiritually feeding as the summer season appears, the fact of the matter is, woven within these glorious days, it cannot be denied that there are days when we may experience illness or unsettling situations that unbalance us & effect our body, mind, & spirit in one way or another. Suffering, grief & loss do not take time out for the months of the summer.
There is no denying that we are currently in the middle of the gorgeous summer season. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? Though hopefully we enjoy each one of the four seasons of the year, I think it’s pretty likely that most people would say they look forward to Spring & Summer the most. Even if we did not have a calendar & if the temperature was cooler then we’d like for the summer season, we would know it was summer by just looking at all the new life bursting forth in front of us feeding our spirits. As we journey through these summer days, hearing the birds singing, observing the various trees, the luscious plants & beautiful flowers, & tasting the fresh fruits & vegetables growing from the earth, we are re-awakened once again to God’s glorious creation of which we are blessed to a part of. We are surrounded by such beauty at this time of the year that if we pause to take notice, it’s impossible not to feel grateful to God our creator & to celebrate. As I go for a walk or sit on the deck & look around, I am reminded of the well-known hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth”, that joyfully proclaims gratitude & praise, with each verse, inviting people to sing: “For the beauty of the earth. For the glory of the skies. For the love which from our birth, over & around us lies, Lord of all to Thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.” It is hard not to have a song in our heart as we live through these days of summer, don’t you think? It is a time when school is in recess, & we hear the happy sounds of children of all ages playing once again as we tend our gardens & actively wait for the seeds planted to produce new, promised life.
It is a full yet also relaxed time of year that we all look forward to, as friends & families gather for: graduations, weddings, family reunions, picnics, hikes, boating, vacations & a variety of festivals & other celebrations. Life generally feels good & whole & balanced in these summer months.
And yet, as we all know, as perfect & spiritually feeding as the summer season appears, the fact of the matter is, woven within these glorious days, it cannot be denied that there are days when we may experience illness or unsettling situations that unbalance us & effect our body, mind, & spirit in one way or another. Suffering, grief & loss do not take time out for the months of the summer & when they occur, they often create fear, doubt, sadness, & feelings of hopelessness. One ten-minute segment of the nightly news, (both local & national) lets us know that amidst all of this beauty & new life we are experiencing in these glorious summer days, there are wars, violent incidents, hate crimes, injustice & natural disasters going on. So, the question is, regardless of what time of year we are living in, how are we to deal with the deep gratitude & joy life can bring at the same time that we are encountering the suffering we all witness & undoubtedly will experience? How do we find any balance & lasting hope living in such an unsettled situation that contains both beauty & suffering?
There can be no doubt that we are immersed in both beauty & suffering in this life & regardless of the beauty life brings us, at times it is hard to sing, & a challenge to feel grateful. Do you know what I mean? I am not sure that it is possible on our own, to balance the beauty & suffering life brings to us without sacrificing something. We may be able to focus to some degree upon what we have versus what we do not have & to feel temporarily joyful or grateful in spite of suffering. However, I don’t not think it ever is helpful to deny or dismiss our suffering. Suffering is part of life & in order to be healthy & balanced in mind, body, & spirit, we need to acknowledge, process, & journey through & beyond our suffering. Things that are buried or ignored are buried alive, will come up again eventually & the suffering will continue.
~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy
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