FIRST DAY OF SUMMER – AN IMPORTANT LESSON

BY STEVE DUNN

“First day of Summer supper: Hot dogs, corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes!!!”

This is what my friend Kay Royer Cocklin posted on her Facebook page yesterday afternoon. My first response was, “Oh! Yes!!!!!” Made me sad that I had already eaten a bowl of cereal for supper. (My wife is out of town being a grandmother-in-residence and I was too tired after mowing to get very creative.)

Simple things–hot dogs, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes. Readily accessible to most of us in America. Better than most things you would have popped into a microwave. A whole lot cheaper than a steak. Except maybe for the hot dogs, a whole lot healthier, too.

Simple pleasures that those of us who have experienced them–quite satisfying.

Choosing the simple and taking pleasure from it tends to be a counter-cultural concept in 21st century America. Smart phones, smart cars, smart houses, constant digital connection, designer clothes, beds with dual comfort controls, specially manufactured golf clubs, 200 channels of satellite TV–the list goes on and grows more complicated by the second.

And so often those things carry complications that drain the last ounce of simplicity from our lives and replace it anxiety and aggravation. Ever try to talk to cable company computer? What happens when your smart car enters a dumb phase? How much will it cost you to fix it? Do you really have to be available to every human being via phone every moment of your day? Do the manufactured clubs feel any better when you miss the put or shank the drive? Do you ever stop working to pay for your smart home long enough to actually be in it?

Don’t all the options of life at times just get overwhelming? Don’t you simply run so much that you find yourself in a rat race where the rats are winning?

Don’t say “no” because I know you’re lying – to yourself as well as me.

Donald Miller writes: “It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is a stroll. This is how God does things.”

I pretty much missed the first day of summer because I let myself embrace the complicated. I put too many things in my schedule. I didn’t stop to savor the sunshine or read a good book. In fact, I didn’t even look at the calendar to notice that it was the first day of summer. Ironically, it was my sabbath, my day of rest and refreshment and instead I filled it with the things that I hadn’t gotten done on my work days.

And I forgot the hot dogs, corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes. Didn’t pay much attention to God either.

My loss.

(C) 2103 by Stephen Dunn

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