Summer feels thick right now – the heat, the ebb and flow of vacationers, and the realization that its end is looming like the swarm of mosquitos that emerge at dusk. I am kind of in a funk about it. Thinking there are only a few short weeks of summer left, I feel panic rise like the scorching mid-day heat. For three straight weeks, my family will be scattered in different places. The final weeks of summer stained with talk of orientation, school schedules, and college applications. Family time is back to being carved out like the mocking triangle eyes and jagged mouth of a pumpkin. I might as well get the Halloween decorations down from the attic.
When my husband asked me to go on the boat with him one weekday evening, I reluctantly agreed. I figured it would remind me that summer is still here, in the now. He likes to fish and I like to read. Off we went, him with his poles, and me with reading glasses, a stack of old newspapers, a half-read magazine, and book. (I figured if we were stranded the reading material would be a good diversion.) Within fifteen minutes, he caught three speckled trout. Each time, I put my newspaper down and took a picture of him with his scaly trophy. After comparing all three pictures I couldn’t tell a difference – same man, same fish.
The third fish he caught was the largest. He kept the other two so I was surprised when he threw this last one back. He said we had enough and then immediately cast his line again. Baffled, I didn’t understand why he bothered casting when he didn’t intend to keep any more fish. Putting down my paper, I looked up at the ease of the summer sky which was oblivious to my end-of-summer angst. I thought that maybe my husband is onto something. Maybe life isn’t about what we keep but moments that we catch — or even better moments that catch our breath.
We can’t keep time no matter how desperately we want to. Its nature is to go forward. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease,” (Genesis 8:22). We may protest its pace, its disregard for our schedules, and the way it interrupts cherished time with people we love. Yet, it’s never been ours to keep. It only offers moments we can catch. The rest is just letting go.
While that doesn’t make me feel any better about my people’s scattering, it does encourage me to embrace what I can even when life goes against the current. I took a picture of the sky on our return boat ride. The light was everywhere despite heavy clouds. Slivers peeked through gray making it even more brilliant. A moment I couldn’t keep but like a skilled fisherman, was happy to have caught.
What moments have you been trying to catch this summer?
Read last week’s post.