A tiny front has moved through, and now the weather is cooler. Inside the house, it's 73 degrees, slightly cooler outside.
Several decades ago, I was a runner in South Carolina. In the summer, I'd take a quick look at the morning weather stats, and I'd think twice about going for a run if the temp was higher than 73 degrees--happily, that was only a few summer mornings.
And now, both here and I suspect further north, our morning temps are rarely below 82 degrees throughout summer.
We're back to enjoying the front porch. Last night, after I got back from the memorial service for our colleague who died in a diving accident, we took our wine and cheese to the front porch. As the light darkened, we lit some candles.
It was a good way to unwind. I've been surprised by how many people have been touched by my colleague's life and death. One of my South Carolina friends wrote to me: "I imagine if he'd been born in another century, he'd have been an explorer: sailed the world with Magellan, searched for spice routes to the East for one European crown or another. Amazing to have someone so daring and intrepid right there in your midst."
The main part of the memorial service consisted of a running slide show of pictures from various parts of our colleague's life--lots and lots of dive pictures.
A passion for diving does make for a better slide show that many lives would offer. I picture my slide show: here's Kristin at her computer wrestling with the last sentence of a short story. Here she is with a purple legal pad--that's how we know she's working on poetry.
We've all been talking about living our best lives and about always being mindful that each day could be our last. And yet, in many ways, we can't be mindful like that, minute by minute. I think we can't always live in that moment of awareness that we need to be making the best of every hour on this earth--it's too intense, and then we'd do things like never clean the bathroom or load the dishwasher because who wants to be doing that, if any minute could be our last.
I'd like to read more self-help/mindfulness books that tell us what to do about our daily chores. I know that there are books out there, some based on that classic Zen teaching: "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."
Part of me thinks, I should write that book! But I have plenty of other books to write.
At some point in the last two weeks, I had been thinking about the idea of pastoral care, and the way that so many people seem to think that only pastors do pastoral care. I thought, I should write a book that explores the idea of being a pastoral care person who works outside the church for those of us with different job titles that seem to have nothing to do with pastoral care--but it's the main focus of our days.
So many books to write, so little time remaining--let that be my bell that beckons me to mindfulness!
This Year's Summer Reading List: Take a Look!
3 weeks ago