Please Consider…

By Kim Long

“God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Recently I was treated to an extremely leisurely supper with a dear friend where she and I dressed up for the occasion. We walked into the restaurant around 6 p.m. and at 9:30 p.m. we were thanking our waiter who had taken wonderful care of us throughout the evening. The food was delicious, the company lovely and the birthday cake and coffee that rounded out our dinner were superb. But in truth what really made the evening for me was the pace…or should I say lack of one? We were in absolutely no hurry, our conversation even slowed down to a “civil” pace rather than the hurried sentences I often throw out before I forget what information I need to convey. This was different, it was mindful, purposeful without the sense of immediacy. It was a treat. This same friend has graciously invited me to dine with her in her home and she has such an ease in her manner that I drove home after several hours feeling rejuvenated. What, I thought, am I to learn from these interludes from her?

After reflection, I must confess, gentle reader, that I no longer wish to rush the seasons I cling tightly (complete with slightly sweaty palms) to the last traces of the summer. This registers as a surprise in my consciousness. For as long as I can recall I have begged autumn to hasten and settle on me and mine, gathering us in and giving us time and space to reconnect. I have concluded this new found comfort in being  “where I am” is maturity, an ever-growing awareness that time is not something to be casually wiled away and stowed in the back pocket, rather it is meant to be treasured and I want to tease every bit of meaning from each moment.

As Jimmy Buffet astutely reminds us “time is melting off the clocks”.

Now, I do know the value of a quickly thrown together meal or cooking on the fly. We all do it, we will all do it sometime, I am simply suggesting that we remember there are other options.

Summer commands several specific menus from me- birthday suppers, Father’s Day, as well as the first tomato, the first peach, pear and fig. Though all the aforementioned events are cyclical and one can celebrate a holiday early or late; not so with the first fruits and vegetables of the season. There is nothing like that first, real, homegrown tomato. My absolute favorite variety is Cherokee and when that first bite hits my tastebuds it can only be described as “liquid sunshine.” It cannot wait, postponement is not an option. It must be savored in its own time.  The same is true for the fig, the peach, and any other bounty the garden and orchard can offer us; the garden and the growing season also call the shots.

I believe, up to this point, one of my issues with summer and my subsequent “wishing it away” was that I saw it as a separate part of “my routine,” a transition to a different way of being and I found myself at loose ends because I no longer understood the idea of leisure which I would often associate with idleness. A gross miscarriage of definition!  Ecclesiastes states there is a season for everything so perhaps in these gracious interludes with my friend, God was reminding me that each season offers gifts if “we have eyes to see and ears to hear” and are willing to explore them. I was being invited to recognize anew God’s hand in all things, to slow down and savor rather than consume, to see God’s love revealed in the seasonal delight of the first tomato, fig, and peach. There is nothing frugal about God and He did after all plant eternity in our hearts. Let it go, let it grow.