Summer has come to my church. After many months of teaching and dedicated attendance, the Summer stretches before me with no obligations at church. It is a feeling I am still adjusting to, after 7 years of membership.
We first signed the membership book at First U in October of 2003. Our first year of attendance was intense, we took classes, we volunteered for a committee, and we generally immersed ourselves in our new church home. Shortly after we joined, we were pregnant with our second son (just seven months after the death of our first son, Liam). To say it was an intense year is putting it lightly.
Then came June. We had never been to a church that so definitively "closed" for the summer. Oh, services happened, but there was only one, and they were arranged differently. That June, at our first Flower Communion Service (how moving a service), our then Associate Minister exhorted us to go out from the church to "find our holy places" and return restored for the Fall. It was a revelation to say the least.
We took her at her word and left to have our Summer. The most holy space we found came in July, when our second son arrived, healthy and hale. His first baptism were the tears we all shed (delivering doctor included) over his screams of indignation at being forced from his nice warm nest inside mommy. July and August sped by in a blur of happiness, sleeplessness, and confusion.
When September came and Ingathering was upon us, we joyfully re-entered the church as three instead of two. We even had our family portrait taken for his baby book, to commemorate the moment he became a part of this amazing community. We had him dedicated shortly after that.
Since then, we have never really gotten out of the habit of going out in the Summer and "looking for our holy places." June - August has become a time of lazy Sunday mornings, occasional brunches, and family time. I miss my church family, but there is a freedom in each Sunday morning knowing that I have nobody to worry about but my little family.
So, tomorrow is the Flower Communion, and I find that I will be missing one of the services I like the best. Instead of rushing off to services, we will be gathering ourselves to head for my mother-in-law's house to help get her gardens set for the summer. Dirt, flowers, sunshine and family- one of those holy places I look for.
This year, I will get to church a few times before Ingathering in September. Seriously, I will. I promise I won't look up to find that it is August and we haven't been there since May. I will find my holy places, and I will visit my church home and soak in the peace I find there as well. In the meantime, lazy mornings, pancakes, and family are calling.
Go out and find your holy places- dig your toes in the sand, lift your face to the sun, close your eyes and let the sounds wash over you... enjoy Summer.