On a stiflingly hot summer Saturday, we had much to accomplish. A lengthy to-do list hung over our heads. We wanted to work through the relatively cool morning hours.
Hustle. That was my idea of Saturday. Rest on Sunday. Hustle on Saturday.
Cajoling my little one away from screentime took a tad of convincing. Drawing her out with the promise of her child-sized pool filled with water and bubbles, I worked out a plan to get stuff done while she played within eyeshot. She joined in the vision, donning her suit and extending her arms for sunscreen. I was ready to help her father with the garden tasks.
Then she changed the game.
“Mom, put on your swimsuit and get in with me!”
She has used the little pool often since she was 15 months old. Lately, she finds interest in other things. I thought to myself, “This may be the last summer for this little pool on the porch.”
My inner soundtrack began to play. Simon & Garfunkel sang, “Slow down, you move too fast / You got to make the morning last …” I thought of so many kids I see sunken into screens and apps I don’t understand. I pondered what it would mean if I didn’t get something weeded or pruned or sorted or cleaned. I considered a morning on the porch under the shade in the pool with my 4-year-old and I said, “Yes.”
We wore our straw hats as we savored four hours splashing around, playing dolls, cuddling, relaxing. She turned to me and said, “Mommy, I love you.” A little later, she looked over at me and said, “This is so peaceful.”
My spirit was soothed. My child was happier. Thank God.
The Taize community adapts the text of Psalm 62 into a chant of the congregation: “My soul is at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from God.” The choirmaster sings, “The Lord is my safety and glory, the Rock of my strength. / Take refuge in God, all ye people. Trust God at all times.”
If we look for God in every encounter, every person, every moment, we can see the refuge God offers.
We have been under siege — emotionally, relationally — for months, nearly a year. Prolonged suffering can break one’s spirit and body. I remind myself to look for God’s presence even in one who strikes at my heels and at those I love.
Cue the soundtrack of my life and Paul Simon’s lyrics: “I got no deeds to do, no promises to keep” (other than enjoying time with my beloveds). “I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep / Let the morning time drop all its petals on me / Life, I love you, all is groovy.” It’s the “59th Bridge Street Song.” I know nothing of Manhattan or the Queensboro Bridge or even Long Island and the Upper East Side. I do know that it’s a universal need of the soul to slow down, to breathe in and out, to enjoy being alive.
My soul is at rest. Life, I love you, all is groovy.