What is it about having the sun on your face? Not the so-hot-you-are -drowning-in-sweat sun…no. This is the kind that warms slowly and seeps deeper than your skin, into your spirit and infuses you with hope. Just the sensation of it breaks through foggy, wet days and causes positive thoughts to flow. It reveals freckles, lightens hair, and makes any day feel more fun.
I was lounging beside the pool Tuesday. The temperature was mild. The sky was overcast with a breeze that said a storm was close by. But the storm never came, and the clouds parted intermittently to allow the glorious sun to peek through. Soaking it up became my priority, and I put down the book I was reading, pushed the back of my chair down almost flat, and closed my eyes. I welcomed the sun kisses and felt the warmth deep in my soul. I was nearly asleep when I heard it. The simplicity of summer.
Children running. Then jumping. Splash! Then the gasping for breath. Mountain pools are colder than city ones, and it was a rude awakening for many on this day. Soon however, after the adjustment, playfulness was the order of the day. I decided to listen in without the aid of my vision. There was a game of keep away…or monkey in the middle as we used to call it. A race from one side of the pool to the other was also taking place. One boy called out names of jumps such as ‘cannonball!’ or ‘pencil!’ or ‘can opener!’ for his mid-air siblings in hopes they would miss and he would become the jumper. There were diving sticks thrown to the bottom and retrieved. I am amazed at the fact that pool games are the EXACT same as when I was a kid. The world changes daily…but at the pool, all is just as it should be.
Soaking there with the sounds of summer ringing in my ears transported me back to childhood and long sunny days. I was pretty much a fish, arriving at the pool before it opened for swim team practice. Once that was over, we simply moved our towels from the pavilion into the grassy area for the rest of the day. Splash fights, Marco Polo, jumping contests…happened all day…every day. Our only breaks from the water were during Adult Swim, and even then we begged our adults to let us in with them. My body had stripes due to the fact that our swim team suits were striped white and blue. The sun went right through the white stripe creating a zebra like tan underneath. My hair lightened two shades every summer and always had a sort of green tinge to it due to chlorine overexposure. Freckles on my face were scattered like stars in the summer sky. Mom brought a picnic each day, but we lived for concession stand candy… making skittles flowers and suicide sodas on a daily basis. It was a carefree time with lightness of heart and the perspective of a child.
This summer reverie made me wonder as I often do… how is it our world has become so complicated? When did we lose the ability to be lighthearted and cheerful? Why is it that we cannot just let go and relax? The anger that is boiling over in our culture is stealing our wellbeing. Our ability to be childlike and live in the moment needs to be rejuvenated. I think everyone needs a day at the pool. Not to be the adult sitting on the side observing, but to be the child given fully to jumping in… being completely saturated in the mercy and freedom of God’s grace. I believe there is a reason pool games have never changed. They are a picture of the exuberance of childhood that we all long for…the ability to be oblivious to all the negative, and instead be saturated in what brings us life. I don’t know about you…but I want to be engulfed in the simplicity of summer…all year round.