It used to be that the summer months were a time for us to enjoy a slower, more relaxed, season of life. I’m not sure that is still true. I have friends who commute two hours every weekend to their summer cottage, and two hours home. It is the traffic, apparently, that make for the time of the commute, not the distance. That doesn’t sound very relaxing to me! And as for relaxing, between e-mails, texts, and social media, we are never as “switched off” as we’d like to be. Our devices can be very addictive, and portable work is still working! We have, I think, all learned from experience that even going on vacation can be so stressful. So much so that sometimes we come home for a rest! Then with many two income parents, balancing work and child activities in the summer can be more challenging that during the school months. So much for a “relaxing” summer!
I love summer not simply because of the warmer weather, and vacation possibilities, but because for me it is a time of reflection. Even if we are busy, we all need time to reflect, to ponder, to think, to pray, to center ourselves once again after the hectic schedules that dominate our lives. A few summers ago, I was enjoying a summer’s day in Jasper National Park in Alberta, which is my “happy” place and where I visit as often as I can. As I sat at one of the lakes pondering life, I wrote this prayer that was later published in my first book. I offer it here in the hope that it may cause you to find time to reflect and ponder life this summer.
Too Few Quiet Places
Too few quiet places; think, to reflect, to read, to pray.
So many noisy places; raised voices, background music, traffic noises, sirens sounding.
So much rushing; packed schedules, fast food, impatience, stress.
So little concern for others, thoughts of God, tolerance, understanding.
Lord, help me to navigate my way through this busy world without losing what really matters. - my soul.
© “A Journal of Contemplative Prayer”. Katherine Burgess and A.R. Neal Mathers. 2018.