So I Thought- Flyleaf
Another of my forever-favorite songs. Another on the Soundtrack to my Adolescence.
Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I’ve always been very vocal about my hatred of summer. And it’s mostly true—I’ll take crisp fall air and a dusting of snow over any sunny, 85 degree day you throw at me. But even in my resistance toward the dog days, there has always been something about those first traces of summer.
Perhaps it’s because I grew up with a lot of evening commitments. My schedule usually went something like class»cheerleading (or track in the spring)»homework (usually done in the car)»dance rehearsal (usually until ten)»food slam-down»b.s.ing whatever paper my volleyball-coaching English teacher assigned»sleep»repetition. I had so much going on during the colder months that it was always nearly dark before my day—my actual day full of the things I chose— even really began.
But in came those longer days and evening storms that signaled the start of a season full of potential and void of consequence.
Ah, summer was different.
School was out, my days were free, and by the time my summer-adjusted schedule concluded in the evenings, I still found myself with a dash of daylight. And that dash of daylight meant evening hadn’t yet begun and that the entire night was mine for the taking.
See, my house was the safe haven. Every friend group has one: the hub, the clubhouse, the headquarters; and mine was it. Largely, we had an open door policy, and during the summer, it was practically off its hinges. I had the cool parents, the refreshing pool, and enough seclusion to blast Blink during bonfires without getting badgered by the cops. It was this brew of characters, atmosphere, isolation, and a thirst for adventure that left every summer drive home brimming with curiosity of what mischief the night might bring and who it might bring with it.
And oh, it delivered.
Summer brought 3 a.m. walks around the neighborhood with my pack of like-minded misfits. It brought ghost stories and swim parties and stargazing. It brought dreaming and secret sharing and vulnerability and it protected it all under the grogginess of night.
As I look back, however, I realize my fondness is tied to the fact this strange urgency—this threat of an end to an indecipherable something—that, now, seems to loom over every moment, was lost on me. I was young enough I could hide in the shadow of not knowing better and rest on the cushion of plenty of time while willingly averting my eyes from the first domino of impending ends: Graduation. Then college graduation. Then a career. A marriage. A mortgage. A mouth to feed.
In so many words, I miss the built-in freedom of childhood.
And because of that, beautiful, full, golden memories that should serve as blessings and altars to the goodness of God weigh heavy. I find myself burdened with nostalgia and faced with the question of whether or not I truly believe in the hope I preach. Whether I truly desire renewal. Whether I truly hunger to walk the path laid before me, or whether I’d rather just reflect my way to atrophy.
It’s no secret that I routinely mourn the loss of my childhood and what I oft refer to as “the golden years,” but I say with certainty that there is joy to be found in just having a present. My childhood was golden and yesterday was golden, but today is golden, too, and a decade from now is platinum. We don’t have to wait until our present becomes the past to appreciate it. We just need eyes to see the value of what’s right in front of us and minds that know to rest in the hope—a hope steeped in Truth—of a glorious future, both in the Land of Living and the Land Eternal.
There are great days behind, but there are better days ahead. Always, always, there are better days ahead.