The Three Movements of This Summer

Today marks the beginning of the “third movement” of summer 2022 for me.  My summer officially started after our commencement service back in the first weekend of June.  From there, the summer divided itself neatly into three movements.  The first was a time to decompress, to stay in Hawaii but also stay away from work as much as possible.  That movement lasted just over two weeks and was quite restful.  It was a nice mix of weekend routine plus good time downtown hanging in places I don’t get to see much during the school year.

The second movement, which came to an end yesterday, was rooted in travel: first, to Texas for a retreat at Laity Lodge and second, to Tennessee for time with family.  This movement had a rhythm of its own, too.  It involved travel time, which I mostly enjoy, and then time at rest.  In both the first and second “movements,” I tried to restrict work stuff.  I was mostly successful at it, I think.  And hopefully it won’t set me behind too much going into the next few weeks.  This part of the summer lasted right at two weeks.

The third movement of summer begins today and will last about just over 2 weeks.  Work will enter the picture again bit by bit.  The school year starts with an even that I have some responsibility for.  Beyond that, I’ve got a couple of new “hires” that I need to prep.  Plus, our new pastor just arrived, so I’ll be checking in on him and working on his installation service for later in August.  And, alas, I will need to do some real prep work for the classroom as the new year gets started.

A main goal of the summer was to put some distance between me and work.  I love what I do, and am hopeful that I will enjoy a more simplified “line” this school year with the “temporary vocational stretch” finally over.  But work is almost ubiquitous (for lots of people, not just for me), and I’ve felt the strain of that, especially this last year.  The hope has been that the distance will allow for some “deep work” that can happen beneath the surface of things . . . maybe getting some deeper roots in some things, adjusting my routine where things are less “bundled.”  I know that I don’t want to spend this year drawing from the “same well” as the last five, mostly because that well has kind of dried up (as well it should).

A lot of this goes back to that story Jesus tells about the guy with the unclean spirit that is cast out.  The man gets his life in order, but the spirit has no where to go, so it goes back to find things all “cleaned up” with the man, so he brings some of his friends with him.  And the man is worse off than he was before.  Now: work is no unclean spirit and the story isn’t about my life in particular, but it does illustrate something about people more broadly and the dangers we should be aware of.  “Let the right one in,” on some basic level.  This summer has, bit by bit, a way of trying to recalibrate for that.  To prepare to live differently even if those around me are embarking on another year “as usual.”

So here’s to the “third movement” of the summer of 2022.  You can plan all you want, and life will do what it does.  I get that.  But hopefully there will be a rhythm and routine that is particular to the next couple of weeks that will set me up well for the fall and beyond.

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