“This is the best summer ever!”
Or at least that’s what my children told me. These two declarations happened within days of each other in the past few weeks.
From their perspective, the worst is when everything is cancelled, they lack routine, they miss their friends, they are scared about the things going on around them, and they are stuck at home while I work from home all day and try to maintain some sense of normalcy. The worst days are the days that are filled with disappointment from unmet expectations.
The best is when they play all day in our backyard inflatable pool, have a family cookout, see their friends (even from a distance), play football in the front yard, go fishing with their dad, enjoy a movie night, record a dance recital that couldn’t be performed in person, or spend all day together as a family. The best days are the days when we are all present and together.
Sometimes the best days are the days when we have no expectations.
This was supposed to be our “best summer ever” — a big birthday, a big wedding anniversary, and a new baby on the way have given us many opportunities to celebrate. But those celebrations aren’t going to happen in the way we expected, and it has been disappointing for all of us. In reality, our disappointment really pales in comparison to the challenges many people face every day. We still have so much to be thankful for. And I don’t want those disappointments to turn this into the “worst summer ever.”
Two years ago, which now seems like a different lifetime, I chose the word “simplify” as my word of the year. I felt suffocated by busyness and chaos and desperately needed a change. I craved intentional, authentic family time. I didn’t want to fill the days with activities just for the sake of staying busy. I needed to learn to say “no” and focus on the things that were most important. Then, life got crazier and that longing for simplicity seemed more out of reach than before. But this summer, I have the chance to simplify. Because it turns out, those simple days are often the best.
Everything around us is far from perfect. We live in a fallen world. We will face hardships and we will face disappointments. But, if I focus on the good things in my life, and all the blessings around me, I can make the small moments better instead of worse.