Last week I received a call from a friend. As she spoke wistfully about the end of summer, I could tell she was bracing herself for the demands of fall and winter.
She paused for a moment, fondly remembering the week she spent this summer with her family on Lake Champlain in Vermont. "It was so lovely," she said, "so serene – like a Matisse painting – with the mountains across the lake and behind us, and white hydrangeas everywhere."
As I listened to her, I myself felt that the fullness of summer had come and gone too fast. But then I had a realization. "Wait," I said to her, "That summer view is not lost to the past!
"The whole purpose of what we saw in those summer moments was to reveal what is – to reveal the fullness of Life that is ours to see continually in every facet of our lives."
Each of the seasons seems to have its spiritual lessons, such as harvest, purity, stillness, endurance, growth, unfoldment, renewal. But the special lesson of summer to me is fullness, completeness, wholeness. In summer we see the petals of the rose fully unfurled. The branches of the maple laden with leaves. The sea brimming with boats, seagulls, and reflections of light. Here we see, as a favorite hymn says, "the wide horizon's grander view" (Samuel Longfellow, "Christian Science Hymnal," No. 218).
Why are we given this view? I think it's to illustrate the full – nothing held back – essence of Life. To me the spiritual message from God is, "This is the way I created my universe – in scintillating, clear color; in perfect wholeness and beauty. This is the way I created you, child."
God created His universe at the point of completeness, not of infancy or partial development."Let there be light"; "Let the earth bring forth ... cattle"; Let there be "man made in His image and likeness" (see Genesis, chapter 1). To have created all things this way in Spirit – not through growth in matter – God had to have seen each thing He created as a complete, whole idea.
As Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, commented on that account of creation in the first chapter of Genesis: "...God, Mind, spake, and it was done" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 557). Each idea comes with all the details already drawn in divine consciousness. This truth shatters the limited earth view and is the reason for the awe – the inner stillness – we often feel when witnessing nature's beauty.
For instance, my summers often include time spent in a canoe. As my paddle dips in the river and a blue heron rises from a nearby branch, I realize I am witnessing the beauty of spiritual ideas – the beauty of a spiritual universe.
So what can we do here during these last days of summer 2006? We can hold summer's vision of fullness as a promise for what is coming up for us this fall and this new year. Each project, each relationship, each job opportunity can blossom into its full potential as a whole idea, because that is the way God created everything.
Summer's gift is not a memory to be tucked nostalgically in a drawer, perhaps causing one to feel the transiency of life. It is an object lesson on the reality of divine Life to carry with us.
Summer comes to remind us that Life's full blossom is not a temporary physical experience – but a permanent spiritual fact that is present for each one of us in every season of our lives.
Let the heavens be glad,
and let the earth rejoice:...
Let the sea roar,
and the fulness thereof:
let the fields rejoice,
and all that is therein.
O give thanks unto the Lord;
for he is good.
I Chronicles 16:31, 32, 34