Summer reflections

Published by Brooke 2 months ago on Mon, Sep 13, 2021 3:09 PM

It is June 6, 2021, I’m in my hometown of Concordia, Missouri, I am in my rocking chair, on my porch, next to my peach tree, and I am attempting to figure things out that I have no business trying to figure out. This feeling is not entirely unfamiliar. 

For the first few years we lived in Missouri, I truly disliked it. I guess I internalized all the little quips I would hear about this apparently godforsaken place (Missouri? Don’t you mean Mis-e-ry?) and decided to detest the fact that this was now where I had my permanent residence. Whenever we stayed at home on school breaks, I would shut myself in my room, and watch a lot of Netflix and read books and generally ignore the outside world. 

The view I learned to appreciate! 

A few years later, ignoring my immediate surroundings became more of a challenge. Quarantine happened, and (like many of us) I discovered there was only so much Netflix a person could handle. So, I walked. I walked and thought about all I had missed, how the world was changing, and how I might hyperbolize this very walk to my future grandchildren. Initially, walking provided time and space for me to think. But (like many of us) I learned there is only so much analytical thinking one can do. So, after I traipsed down the same paths for the umpteenth time, my town started to change. The streets I had begrudgingly walked down were now pathways that curved seamlessly into the endless backdrop of the sky. I saw the many flowering trees, and how they were still moving and growing despite the world doing the opposite. I saw these tiny budding flowers, these wide expanses of land, and fell peacefully into the middle of it all. That which had been thrown out of control was not going to start because of my will. The world was a mess, but rather than trying to separate myself and control it, I was just part of it. 

Quarantine came and went, and I didn’t always have enough time to keep up my habit of daily walks, but the theme of being in the middle of things has remained significant in my life. Take these quotes. 

Ecclesiastes 3:11- He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil-this is the gift of God.

Or, if you would prefer it in layman's terms. 

“But about my uncle Alex, who is up in Heaven now. One of the things he found objectionable about human beings was that they so rarely noticed when they were happy. We could be drinking lemonade in the summertime, and Uncle Alex would interrupt the conversation to say, ‘If this isn’t nice, what is?’”-Kurt Vonnegut  

I think that college allows us a lot of space to be in between these two things. Appreciating the small things and attempting to fathom the unfathomable, i.e., our futures.  

Occasionally, my happiness is contingent upon how much of this future I know. When my future seems more concrete, it’s makes it easier to appreciate the lemonade sipping moments. It’s not abnormal to think about the future, but it is worthwhile to remember that what our life will look like after graduation, a year, or even the next day- is not certain. 

It is June 6, 2021, and I am taking stock of what I have. 

This rocking chair, my family, the peach tree on the side of my house, my cat, my friends, and a God who has orchestrated my sitting in this chair, by this peach tree for some currently unfathomable reason.