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Summer Loving

“Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer’s year—it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul.” - Anonymous

Don't you just LOVE summer? So much fun to be had! Trips to places tucked away for months on our calendar's squares finally come to reality. Tall glasses of sweet-tart lemonade are sipped cold and fresh while feet find their happy place in worn-out flip-flops that make that unique sound with each breezy step filling the air - blip, blop, blip, blop.

And, for me, the best part? It's the bigger smiles and impromptu conversations that do not normally surface during the chilled winter months. People are more open, like a morning lily lifting its' slumped head and unfurling like a gift, people do the same more naturally in the summer. It seems this season truly has a beat of its very own: Jazzy and lush and snappy - like a champagne celebration to the soul.

It is like we have been hibernating tucked deep into our boxy house-caves for months and all of a sudden, the solstice rolled over and flipped the switch. Rise and shine! In a snap of time, the hemisphere's' thick, gray, woolly sweater unraveled and fell off and got replaced with a lightweight outfit of bright floral pattern and colorful stripes!

Following suit, people seem to love each other better in the summer. We are more open. More giving. More generous in connection and offering. More whole and closer to who we were created to be.

As I ponder this thought and then think about how beautifully and purely Christ always connected with those in His midst while on earth, I reflected on when Jesus was asked about what is most important to God in the entire, crazy scheme of things for us doing life down here. He answered without hesitation:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV)

This is the meaning of life peeled down to its' very center core - love God, love others, repeat. L O V E. Do it deeply and truly and, even when it seems downright impossible, keep doing it. In other words, be God to others, right where you are, and where they are - all year round - donning flip flops or winter boots or 5-inch heels. Just love. Let people feel seen and heard and beautifully and wonderfully made - because they are. And oh boy, don't we all want more of that?

The night is turning down the sky's covers earlier and earlier now as August slips into September's open, waiting arms. This short time of extra warmth is drawing to a close - I can sense it like a shadow lurking just behind me. But I am not ready for the added connection with others and this loving each other better thing to suddenly stop. Are you?

Friends let's not allow the end of a season be the end of a very good thing. Let's keep loving like we have all summer and shine even brighter in the cold, in the dark, in the greyer seasons ahead. Let's love one another as if summer never ends.

Because, in God's world, it never does.

Questions: What is your favorite part of summer? How will you bring summer loving into each season this year?

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