So here we are, just over two weeks away from the start of a new school year, and I’m just not ready. It’s not that I haven’t bought all the requested school supplies – which I haven’t. It’s not that the summer heat still hangs oppressive, making me feel melty like a dweller of a Dali painting – which it does. It’s not that I’m aggravated by stores packing up summer and schlepping out the autumn merchandise – which I definitely am.
I’m just not ready to move on from these summer days. Days of relaxed schedules and time with my kids, whether fun or frustrating. Days to do something different like… well, maybe we haven’t done enough “different” this summer. Sure, we’ve had some fun, and done some neat things like play with butterflies and visit the Kennedy Space Center. But somehow I wanted something more.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I feel like this summer was just not enough. Not fun enough or special enough or meaningful enough. Maybe this summer – of stay-at-home camps and visits from relatives – pales a bit compared to last summer with its epic vacation to New England. Maybe I’m growing more sentimental as my kids grow older. Maybe I’m a little unsettled at the thought of Anna going to a different school – middle school – this year.
I treasure the time with my kids… time to enjoy them, laugh with them, teach them, guide them. Maybe there’s never really enough time for good things like these. Maybe my expectations are too high, too easily disappointed by the not-so-good stuff like whining and fussing with each other and not listening. Maybe I create stress for myself by wanting to do too much. Maybe I think too much (pretty sure about this one actually).
I can’t make the remainder of this summer the absolute best end-of-the-summer ever. But maybe I can be a little more deliberate, a little more intentional, and make the most of these together times before the rush of school and activities returns.
There is a saying I learned from a mom friend: “You take what you get and don’t throw a fit.” (In Southern, “get” and “fit” rhyme.) It’s a good one for stopping little complainers. But maybe what it really gets at is this idea of “enough.” We want and want and yearn for something… that other thing, not this thing we have right here. Our human nature cries it’s not enough, and sometimes that’s true. It’s not enough. But we are not promised “enough” on our own terms. And maybe God, in His wisdom, uses that unsatisfied yearning to draw our hearts to higher things.
In this season – this summer, this life – we can never truly do it all or have it all. But God does promise His grace is sufficient. His grace is enough. Grace is our resting place, far better than the fleeting, lazy days of summer. By grace, the pauper is crowned prince, and the ragamuffin trades his beggar clothes for royal robes. By grace we realize we are all ragamuffins.
On our own there is never enough. But we can look to the cross, and understand it is more than we could hope for.