I don’t know about you, but I do not remember this nice of a summer in all the years I have lived here – which is since April 1970 when my parents moved our family up here from California. We came up the Alcan on vacation the summer before; I wondered why my parents wanted to move here because all I remembered was dirt roads, brown grass, and cool weather. However, like so many people who settle in Alaska, they wanted to start a new life. So here we are. It took me a good five years before I begrudgingly decided it was not so bad. I still remember the day. Not a warm summer day, rather it was a cold winter day, snowing the big fluffy flakes. As a young teenager, I stood on the back deck of our house, which overlooked Rabbit Creek, and appreciated that there was not another house in sight. Watching the wilderness through the gentle curtain of snowflakes I finally thought to myself, this is beautiful. And besides, my heavy sweater, insulated coat, snow pants, lined mittens, knit hat, wide scarf, double socks and moon boots were keeping me warm. Alaskans know it is important to layer.
All these years later, however, I still do not like being cold. I never did get into winter activities, though there are many, and it becomes less and less likely the older I get. I do not mind the snow so much as I really do not like the cold; if it is 10 degrees or less, I am not a happy camper. And though I say I do not mind the snow so much, when it snowed on May 17th this year, I was so ready to hang it up and high-tail it out of here, I was done with winter’s chill. But now I am eating my words, since I have been thanking God every day for this summer’s gorgeous weather!
I am also thankful I have all my five senses, sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, with which to experience life. I take them for granted, I know, for there are people without one or more of them. On that day I accepted living in Alaska was not an exile to the ends of the earth (though it kind of is), I cannot imagine not being able to see the gently falling snow, hear the quiet creek flowing under the cover of ice, taste a cold fluffy flake on my tongue, smell the fresh brisk air, and feel the warmth within my winter wardrobe. With this summer’s unusually high temperatures, I so appreciate seeing the late evening sun’s golden red glow against the tree trunks, hear the rustling of the green leaves in a gentle breeze, taste the flavors in ice cream made all the better by the hot sun, smell the remnant aromas of home barbeques and freshly cut grass, and feel the embrace of warm air, without needing a sweater.
Pausing to savor these experiences’ sensations reminds me of a saying, ‘we are human beings, not human doings.’ In those moments, I was simply being aware of my surroundings. I have come to realize, however, that most of the time I am so busy ‘doing’ life rather than ‘being’ in life. I have the perception that I need to be doing something to be worth something. However, to the Lord we have value simply by being – existing as his creation. Acts 17:28 says ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ This resonates with my soul because I live for him, I want to move my life in his direction, and I strive to have my core being centered on his truths. Mindfully meditating on the scriptures allows me to simply be in his presence to hear his voice. As my soul is daily made well through the ministrations of the Holy Spirit, that wellness can spread to other parts of my being. Through this spiritual growth, I can learn to be more of a ‘being’ than ‘doing.’ Though there actually is plenty of doing to be done.
As you savor this uniquely warm summer, stop yourself in the moment to see, hear, taste, smell and touch it. Create experiences with loved ones, and be there, don’t ‘just do it’ this time. Give yourself a meditative moment or more with the Lord to be renewed and rejuvenated for what needs to be done. Let his wellness spread from your soul to other areas of your being. I leave you with III John 2 ‘Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.’