Abruptly Summer

It was as I hefted a crying Billy onto my shoulders, picked up his scooter and the football, and somehow attempted to push Rufus on his bike up a hill, that I regretted what we had brought, and not brought, on this 8.30am walk. Billy’s desire for scooter riding had faded within a few minutes, and no-one actually wanted to play football by the time we got there.

And the stroller languished at home, awaiting the hot, sweaty and grumpy return of us ‘adventurers’. The adventure became a slow crawl even quicker than had been expected because Illinois summer seemed to have arrived overnight. The sunshine that had prompted an early excursion had quickly become a sweltering heat that surprised us, and didn’t thrill the cyclist or the ‘porter’ parent.

Flip-flopping between April snowfall, torrential rain and sometime sunshine, it seems that summer has abruptly arrived and is here to stay. While we’re glad for the sun, and outside opportunities, rhythms and routines have been knocked out of kilter as we get used to it. Will a paddling pool entertain for the whole summer?! Will we melt if we eat every meal outside?! When is the best time to go for a (stroller-accompanied) walk?!

As the ‘shelter in home’ order is gradually being relaxed over here, we are anticipating not just seasonal shifts but a gradual, wary edging back to normal. We’ve had more face-face interaction in the last week than we’ve had for months, and this weekend sees patios and courtyards outside restaurants scattered with people eating out at a distance. But, while restrictions are relaxing, I feel like the small child dipping their toe in the water, hesitantly watching others as I decide whether to jump in. I don’t feel fear so much as confusion, and the added dimension of trying to read how other people are interpreting the situation, and to what extent they are going to be in the water.

As I’ve been reflecting on things changing, I’ve been spending my early mornings in the Bible. While news, comment and advice spew out of every device and social media filter, I’m thankful for the unchanging, promise-keeping, loving God who has spoken. I’m thankful that, while circumstances and seasons change, God’s unchanging word speaks compassionately and truthfully to the heart of humanity, and holds out hope that goes beyond vaccines and getting it right.

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