Basking in God's Blessings
Summer is here. School is out. A boisterous troop of elementary age children just ambled through the office on their way to the buses waiting to take them bowling. They were happy to be with their friends, going somewhere to have fun while attending the international convention here in Baltimore with their families. It has been over two weeks since I have seen so many children here at school. It has been quiet with just Paula Lange, Nathan McFarland, and me working here, finishing off the school year just passed and preparing for the school year just ahead.
People assume that we have the summer vacation weeks off like the teaching staff does and say things like, "Are you enjoying your time off?" and "What have you been doing since school ended?" as though the last day of school for the students was the last day for everyone in the school until late August. I tell people that I still go to school every day. They look at me with surprised faces and ask, "What for? Isn't the school closed?" Depending on what we are working on, I reply, "We have to get out the report cards this week," or "We have to order the books for next year," or "We're interviewing some prospective students and their families." I don't say things like, "I have to revise the policies and procedures this week," or "I'm working on putting together a working class schedule for middle and high school," or "Those birthday cards that kids like to receive still need to be written out and mailed all summer long."
Some days I wish I were still a teacher and had my summers off. I miss spending weeks at a time at my parents' house in Maine reading books, taking day trips to the mountains, the lakes, or the beach, going out to eat and enjoying concerts, fireworks, fairs, and summer theater. Summer in Maine is a wonderful time. So relaxing... I plan my few summer vacation days to coincide with the Pownal Congregational Church's baked bean supper, one of those things that Maine people do on Saturday nights throughout the summer. I think I even wrote about this in a past blog entry, so you can see how important this is to me.
I like going to Maine and seeing some of the same people who I knew when I first started going to Pastor Stevens' church over 35 years ago. To them I am still "Danny," son of Pastor Bruce and Kay, not Mr. Dunbar, the principal of GGCA in Baltimore. I am invited to pick raspberries at Connie Morehead's house, and even if I don't make it over there, she still gives me a jar of homemade raspberry jam or a raspberry pie because she knows I love it so. I sit with Sue Carrier, my Christian school colleague and talk school for a bit. There are lots of handshakes and hugs and a few kisses from faithful folks with gray hair and wrinkled skin that barely contains that glory of God that glows within.
Summer is a time when life slows down, if you let it (and you should), and there is time to reflect and reconnect and read those books that you've been meaning to read. It is a time to sit outside with a cold drink and let the breeze carry to you the aroma of grilling meats as you while away an hour or three chatting with a dear friend in the back yard or at a some retreat from the everyday world, like a state park or somewhere there are more trees and water than cars and people, somewhere that you may not have reception for your smart phone. Summer is the time when you can go to church and linger afterward, because your children don't have to get to bed at a decent hour because there's school the next day. You can buy a cold coffee drink in the cafe and sit out on Grace Island and speak of God's greatness and goodness.
Summer is a time, like right now, when I can sit and write a blog entry without feeling guilty that I am not doing something else "more important" at school.
I'm hoping that this summer you are making time for family and friends and enjoying the ones that God has placed in your life. I hope you are doing things that draw you closer to God and to each other, and that you are doing things that enrich your life that maybe you don't have time to do the rest of the year. Slow down and bask in God's blessings and really hear from Him. School will be here soon enough and then we will all be very busy again and that has its place. But for now, experience the rest that God has for His people. (Hebrews 4:9)