Fun in the Sun or Summer Time Blues?
My parents have a small cabin that sits in the woods about 100 yards or so off the water at Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma. We just call it “The Lake”.
When I was a kid I spent most every weekend at the lake. At the water’s edge we had a covered dock, off of which I learned to swim, to fish, to row a boat, and how to use a J stroke in a canoe. It was at the lake where I learned to water ski, wake board, and drive a boat.
It was at the lake where my siblings, cousins, and I were first stretched beyond our comfort zones and began facing our childhood fears. What if we jumped off the dock and landed on a fish? What if a fish bit us? There were water snakes… And don’t forget the power of things that are slimy: there were the worms we used for bait and the perch we caught with them. Sometimes our feet touched the rocks on the bottom, and then there was the ladder…that funky moss on the ladder was pretty spooky.
When I was about six or so, I remember my sister and I huddled on my father’s lap inside the old dock. He had us singing old camp style songs in order to distract us and keep us calm as the dock thrashed about in the raging wind and waves from the tornado that was crossing the lake just a short distance from us.
I know I had to have been scared out of my mind during this event, but being scared is not what I remember. What I remember is being in the security of my father’s arms and receiving comfort during a time that could have easily been a horrifying tragedy.
For me this was just another big storm. Big storms were a part of life and especially during the spring and early summer. I am grateful that my parents chose the perspective of Fun in the Sun, over what could have only been the Summer Time Blues.
Keeping things in perspective is important as we face our fears and the storms that come our way. As I look back I can see how my parents helped me grow healthy perspectives through the activities I experienced at the lake.
When I wasn’t old enough to be in the water by myself, I had a little mini pool on the dock. They helped me safely guide the worms onto the hooks and how to appreciate catch and release until I was old enough to clean the fish myself. They were there swimming beside me during all the failed attempts to pass the “Swim Test” which I needed to accomplish in order to get behind the boat and learn how to ski.
Not all of my perspectives came from time down at the dock. Every Saturday night we would head up to the cabin a little earlier than the other days. After rinsing off the chiggers and a quick tick check, we all piled in the car and headed down a winding lake road to a little country church.
It was here that I cuddled in the security of my mother’s arms and sang old hymns. It was here as a family in God’s house that we were given what we really needed to build a healthy perspective on life and were given what we needed to grow safely through whatever storms came our way.
As I look back, it was those Saturday evenings in that little church that instilled in me the importance of a year-round relationship with God; even when it cut into our precious time at the lake.
It has been said once or twice that Episcopalians are the only group that God trusts enough to take the summer off. Well… I’m not so sure about that. It’s all a matter of perspective. Have fun in the Son.