The whole point of living here, really, beyond all of you wonderful people (and you are wonderful,) beyond all the wonderful beaches, the wonderful food, even all the distinctiveness of all the nature and the fishes and the farms and the parks and the shows, every last singular sweet drop of placehood with which the Seacoast drips, the whole point of living here, really, is the seasons.
This dramatic unfolding of time, this glorious transformation, as my sweet family goes from adventuring to beaches, water battles with buckets or sprayers in our backyard, berry picking, boat rides, sunsets on days full of frolic, sunrises with so many options ahead.
This all sweetly dissolves, or transforms, in fits and starts. The first leaves, which I always wonder if perhaps signal the tree being sick, not that the inevitable change has once again come, as it always does. And the bursts still again of heat, memories of what was, punctuating the cold, reminding us, returning us.
The page turns.
And sometimes I say amen!
Sometimes we have one of those summers that we would just as soon forget, a summer of strains and pain, of stretching and sacrifice. Sometimes we find that first leaf and call out to all the other leaves, “Look at this wise, wonderful leaf, doesn’t this look like fun! Fall! Please fall already.”
And sometimes the summer closes on unimaginable sweetness. New love, with all the overblown importance it deserves. Sweet memories whose finality can cause a near physical pain.
I remember such summers. The best friends I had ever made, feeling held and connected, having built something real and true and lasting and good and then the leaves falling and the searing pain.
But, perhaps it’s age. Perhaps the sheer mass of events in a life full of our glorious monkeys and their adventures and triumphs and pains and joys. Perhaps it’s the result of trying to keep up with a wife who is perhaps wiser than I will ever be and loves me with a completeness and a faith that I will pour my everyday into honoring. Perhaps it’s you all. All of your glorious lives, all the birth and death, all the soaring and crashing, the fullness and beauty of it all. And this thing we are building, this precious and mysterious thing to which I pledge my everything, this thing which is only created because of you and Lauren and me and every other person who is reading these words right now and who will ever read these words and all the ones who will not.
Because of all this it seems to me this year that the leaves come and the page turns and a summer full of almost everything is in the books. And now it is a choice of the remembering. Refusing not to remember beauty and goodness. Refusing to be mired in the challenges which we face together, but seeing them, feeling them and knowing that together we can build change, that together we can wrench away the potential of this world from the fearful hands of the clutchers and the grabbers.
And the thing that helps me most in all this. In the turning and the leafing and the remembering and the savoring and the serving and the loving and the building and the all of the everything, the thing that helps me most is you all and South Church and the incredible things we are building together.
So if you’ve had a bit of a break, bust out your GPS, the address is still 292 State St. in Portsmouth. Sunday mornings, 10:00 on September 4th and 11th and then back to 9:00 and 11:00 on the 18th.
And on that 18th, we have our next annual Bring Your Weight in Food Drive. As we have for the last five years we will be gathering donations of food and money for the Seacoast Family Food Pantry. We will have a truck outside the church and my sons and I will be helping the Senior Youth fill the truck and deliver the food. We invite you to weigh yourselves, weigh your pets, remember your ideal weight, weigh the smallest or largest person in your family, however you want to do it, and bring that much food or a check. You an also drop off donations the whole week prior in the Social Hall.
This, too, is how we remember what is beautiful and good in this world. We serve. We join with our neighbors who are doing amazing work to help serve and support folks who are struggling in our community. We serve. We love. We rebuild what is broken in so many ways.
So we will see you soon. Know that you are cherished. And however you turn that page, turn it. Feel the sweet breeze of the page, and prepare for this good thing which awaits, this sweet thing which is on the way.
So much love to you all,