The last night before all the students were to be officially checked out and on to their summer destinations, I felt so blue about everyone leaving. Neal and I sat down in the plaza late at night, drinking tea, and watching students mingle and say their good-byes to the city and to one another. I don't much like good-byes. Especially after a year of such meaningful relationships. Man, did these Moody students make our first year a good one.
[CREW: Neal's RA small group this year.]
But I awoke the next morning to that delicious feeling of realizing that it's the weekend. Yes, one big, looong, wonderful weekend called "summer" has arrived! Hardly knowing yet how to take it in, Neal and I headed out to one of our favorite parks along the lake. We found the perfect bluff to shelter us from the chilly wind and on which to lay back and tilt our faces toward the warmth of the sun. Heaven.
We laid flat on our backs on that hillside for... almost two hours.
It was simple, real relaxation. A perfect deep breath between the year and the summer ahead.
We talked about the year, and then we'd just lay in silence...we'd process some more about some aspect of the spring or fall semester, and then drift off again, all the while soaking in that vitamin D. We told God how thankful we are to Him for the privilege of doing of ministry at Moody. I had to tell Neal over and over how proud I am of how hard he worked this year and how well he did, because I just am.... so proud. And the way he took care of me month after month on top of his work day- there's just not words to describe his feat of faithful love and service this year. Thank you, Neal. Thank you, God. And is this sun really so warm it feels like I might be getting a little color on my face? Thank you again, God.
Right over the bluff was this:
Summer, you're here, and we are so happy to welcome you!
For me and Neal, summer goes from now until August 1. Neal still works in the office, but we have several weeks of vacation and lots of long, lazy evenings.
With calendar in hand, I mapped our summer:
Summer: 11 weeks
Days home in Chicago: 40
Days spent with families throughout the summer: 21
Days on vacation in Florida, just the two of us: 13
Here's a peek into a few of my summer hopes and plans:
yoga. reading. cooking. baking. exploring Chicago neighborhoods. farmers markets. spring cleaning and organizing my apartment. calligraphy. scooter rides every evening. a picnic at Buckingham Fountain. Lakeshore path bike rides. having my first Chicago-style hot dog. and so many more things that Neal finds it necessary to remind me that rest is in the plans as well.
And of course, longer visits with family, and welcoming my sister Tiff's new baby! Yummy, my favorite!
Please pray with me that God will bring about total healing to my body this summer, and that He will help Neal and I to persevere and experience His comfort and hope until complete healing does come. Until then, I will tuck these summer hopes and plans into my "good days" and at an easy pace. We'll taste life as it comes. There's so much to taste here in Chicago!
"I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let you heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" Psalm 27:13-14