A local youth group at a church recently advertised their slogan, “Take back your summer!”
What a great idea, I thought. We’ve all lost so much over the last year and especially for our youth. So this is the summer to take back our lives. Get outside and see friends, have campfires and tell ghost stories, go to the beach, sit under the stars. Enjoy the warmth and the sunshine. Put down the phones – we’ve all done too much of that while being stuck inside. Spend the summer away from the headlines, most of which are only designed to keep us wanting more. Take it all back! You owe it to yourself. Make this the best summer yet!
On one of my recent beach trips, my first “maskless” one since the pandemic began, I saw this young man on the beach fishing by himself. He seemed perfectly content and happy with his fishing pole, a bag of assorted gear, his thermos, and his chair. He was in no hurry. He laid everything out and scouted the area for the best spot. After a few minutes, he asked me to watch his fishing pole while he went back inside. And I did. I glanced over every couple of minutes just to be sure the pole was still in the holder where he’d left it in the sand. The young man reappeared about 30 minutes later – longer than I thought he would to entrust me, a complete stranger, with its care. He asked me with a smile, “Did he behave?” “Yes”, I said, “not a peep from him.” And with that, he took up his fishing pole and headed down toward the water.
A few minutes later, an older gentleman came walking by and stopped to talk to the young man. They looked at the pole and gestured out to the sea, and they seemed to be engaged in a good, hearty conversation about something important and yet not important at the same time (depending on what you consider important). Neither one was in a hurry. They were still talking when I left a little while later. I don’t know if the young man ever caught any fish, but it was the most beautiful, perfect day I have witnessed in a long while.