“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.”
2 Cor 9:11-12
Our family enjoyed a meal on the patio of Portillo’s one warm afternoon last July. The girls were sipping oversized cups of soda while enjoying crinkle cut fries. There was a little boy playing hide and seek behind Eric’s chair. The air was filled with the din of customers coming and going, car doors closing, and traffic zipping by in the distance.
I took a few pictures that afternoon because the sun was bright, the girls were enjoying themselves, and my piece of chocolate cake was picture-perfect. Those pictures, along with so many others, made their way into our “Summer Book”. Our summer books are chock full of simple pleasures – moments that didn’t seem particularly extraordinary, but through the lenses of time and nostalgia, have become treasures.
Snapping pictures of our simple summer pleasures has become a bit of a family joke. If we’re somewhere that seems fitting of a picture, someone will call out, “Summer Book”, and we’ll assemble for a selfie or a shot of two or three of us to mark the place or the memory. By the end of the summer, the shared Summer Book photo album on our phones is full of memories. Camping. Trips to Chicago. Fireworks. Outdoor concerts. Time spent with friends. And the list goes on. Deciding which pictures to include in the summer book is always a difficult one. Thankfully the photo sharing site I use allows unlimited uploads AND formats the pictures into pages for me. My task, then, is to decide which picture pages to keep and which ones to discard. Thankfully, too, this site offers generous coupons, a boon for anyone who can’t bear to part with any picture memories!
I’ve been thinking a lot about simple pleasures lately. As each of us grapples with the stay at home orders in our own way, there’s no escaping that things have changed. Is it too bold to say everything has changed? Stores are limiting the number of shoppers allowed inside. Masks are commonplace, and we might find ourselves making judgements about who is or who is not wearing them. School is out for the rest of the year. End of the school year festivities have been cancelled. Birthdays are celebrated in isolation. New babies are introduced to grandparents through windows. Weddings have been postponed. Does it seem like we might never experience a simple pleasure again? Does this all feel too huge and uncertain and scary? Where can we find solace?
For today, I am going to seek out some sunshine. I am going to listen for the wind in the trees and the birds nesting there. I’m going to flip through a summer book or two, and remember the simple pleasures of the past, and look forward to the simple pleasures.