Summer is my favorite season. I love the freedom, I love the long, light-filled days. The sun is shining before I wake and continues to spread light long after the children are in bed. I love how the heat prickles my skin when I’m outside. I treasure digging my hands into fresh dirt, cultivating our garden, pulling fruits and herbs off of ripe green plants. I love the water play and barbecues that come with the season. School is out, I’m not teaching my children. There’s no morning rush to the school table. Mornings are filled with snuggles and conversations in my bed and evenings with occasional ice cream or snow cone runs. It’s slow, free, and easy.
Last summer, when we were forced from our home, I grieved our summer. Instead of spending the days watching my children run across our Narnian backyard, we were saddened at the loss of fundamental stability from a home. At the time, I comforted myself with how this summer would look, in our new home. I truly thought we’d be in our new home, new town. I pictured us putting down roots, tilling a garden in the ground. But that was not to be.
We still haven’t found home. We still have no idea where we will plant our roots. We wait, listening for Him who guides in His own timing. Instead of planting new roots in our home and a freshly tilled garden, we are still living temporarily and planting roots in window boxes. We are tired. The last year has been incredibly difficult, and are are finally giving ourselves permission to process all of it. It’s been over a year since we’ve been settled in a home and had a community of close friends. Most have moved away, many are busy with life. So this year, we are spending our summer lamenting.
Lament is a beautiful if painful thing. Lament is scary and vulnerable. But, in our family, we have learned that as we give space to joy, so too must we give space for lament. Instead of running and shying from our pain, we sit. We hold sacred space for it, and we find the holy wrapped in the sadness. Last night, I held my children and we wept together. We cried for lack of friends. We grieved the absence of family. We wept over the death of loved ones. We named our feelings and pain. We held each other and held space for every emotion. And we grew closer.
There may not be growth in fresh dirt in our own backyard. There isn’t our own backyard yet where we can permanently plant our hearts and gardens. But I’m still growing this beautiful community of people in my home. Life has been a bit brutal for us the last few years. So much change, loss, and struggle. But inside this family, there has been growth and connection.
As we lament, I see pockets of peace throughout the day. Despite days of tough feelings and deep sadness, there are moments that I am intentionally rooting in my heart. Moments for which I dig up the dirt in my heart and sow, knowing they will take fruit later. I take notice of those moments, relish the joy and peace I feel. I let those feelings flower and fill my soul with the aromas of tenderness, peace, and connection.
This morning, we sat around the table and the kids tried grapefruit for the first time in their memory. Before that, we sat in my bed for an hour…just talking. Yesterday, I held my oldest as she wept out of loneliness and grief. I let her weep and name for as long as she needed. The quiet moments of joy, comfort, and connection–those are my garden for now. I am planting for my children and their children. I am planting seeds that will hopefully fruit for generations.
Lament, plant, fruit, connect.
Listen, gather, digest, relish.