Okay. We’re the first to admit it feels like the crazies are winning. All those long, lovely, leisurely days we envisioned in May have given way to shuttling our school-free children all over the Midwest, frantic loads of laundry between trips, and the subtle sleep-deprivation that comes from staying up way too late, thanks to endless dusk. My best attempts at a daily schedule deteriorated within days of Micah’s kindergarten graduation, replaced by variations on, “Didn’t I just feed you?” and “Leave your brother alone. Now.”
Meanwhile, other than an evening sailing and a fun trip to Erin’s hometown in Ohio, the Wasingers and Arthurs have barely managed to greet one another at church, much less meet weekly for dinner. All those good intentions, those small but radical changes for the sake of Jesus, seem to have been obliterated by simply surviving summer.
When did this happen? How did summer become the crash zone for the intentional life of faith? We can’t be the first Christians to experience this, not when monastic communities for centuries have farmed the lands they lived on. Seedtime, harvest, baby livestock, upkeep of the grounds and buildings, storing food for winter, washing every last thing while there’s hot sun to dry it…and yet the daily rhythm of prayer, shared meals, and worship never cease. The bells still ring, summoning the community together. A reminder to pause in your labor. Rest from your striving. Seek the presence of the One whose sustaining power is everlasting, no matter the season.
Consider this update one of those bells. Restore the rhythm. Don’t let the crazies win. Step back from the fray, revisit your spiritual goals. What one small thing are you working on? Is it living simply, befriending the poor and marginalized, caring for creation, seeking justice, being honest about your mental health? Don’t wait for September 1 before you take some practical steps again. Call one of your covenantal friends right now. Today. Reread the chapter that inspired you.
And download this spectacular FREE calendar–a gift from our publisher to you–that tracks The Year of Small Things starting August 1, just like the book itself does. A daily, visual reminder to put first things first, even if they’re small.
And if you need some extra encouragement, here are some opportunities for further reflection:
- We love this excellent interview in Interpreter Magazine: “We’re not in ministry to the struggling. We are called into friendship with those who are struggling. That is a whole different thing.”
- Here’s a thoughtful, insightful review in The Christian Century: “The Year of Small Things is about doing the dishes. It’s about the hard work of serious discipleship when you have a life and family.”
- Don’t miss these podcast interviews with Jen Pollock Michel, author of Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home and with Brian Bantum, author of The Death of Race: Building a New Christianity in a Racial World.
Do you hear them, the bells? Don’t let the summer crazies win.