We are on the doorstep of summer. I have always been a bit of a reluctant summer planner. I don’t like to feel locked in or like I am so booked with things that I miss the wonder of it all. Of course, without any plans, the days can slip away and you suddenly find that summer is over.
I read something recently that could serve as a guide for making summer plans. Tom Bodett writes,
“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
Perhaps one can’t go wrong if this is what you are shooting for this summer.
Take time to be with the people you love — your family, your friends, God.
Have something to do
For those of you with children you will connect with this. Who wants to hear a chorus of “I’m bored.” playing throughout your days. The truth is, there are so many things we can do. I have found it helpful to establish some practices or rhythms that help ensure I am doing things that help me be my best self. When things aren’t going well, it’s often because I’m not following one of the practices that I have in place. It’s a sign that things are out of balance for me.
We often think of balance as an even state where we have reached a plateau of harmony or equilibrium. But what we forget is that in order to stay in balance we have to move. Think of a tightrope walker for example. She carries a pole to help maintain stability. She doesn’t simply stand still and become one with the rope. She is constantly adjusting her weight and position to stay in balance.
To maintain balance we can try to move in 3 ways:
1. We can try to move ourselves — both our body and our mind.
We all need to have a plan in place to take care of our physical and mental health. Simple things like sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet make a big difference. It’s important to be intentional about taking care of our mind as well. The summer is a great time to try something new. This can help us expand our minds as we practice being a beginner at something. Our minds also needs space to pause from the demands of the day. In the space of downtime, we can pay attention to our thoughts and welcome opportunities to be curious about things, ideas, and what’s happening around and within us. This is also when we often do our best thinking — when ideas emerge and clarity comes.
2. We can try to move beyond ourselves and discover how we can serve others.
3. We can move toward God
We can welcome the new day by giving thanks and being with him. It can be helpful to practice rhythms of solitude and silence as well as reading, meditation and prayer.
Have something to hope for
Some of our hopes are like wishful thinking. We always make a list of things we hope for as a family: a summer wish list. It’s fun to try to help each other realize our hopes.
Hope can also be something more than a wish or a goal. Hope is an assurance that we can carry with. It is something that lives inside us through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we have this kind of hope, we have the power to keep moving. This kind of hope can infuse our days with the power we need to grow and become our best self.
Whatever your summer brings, may there be opportunities to be with those you love, to have life giving things to do, and to have something to hope for.
What are my hopes for the summer?
What practices can I put in place to help me be my best self?