Summers have always been…weird for me. It’s never been vacation time. My family has never piled into a car and driven across America to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone. We do church camps and I’ve continued with that into adulthood. We have done these as far back I have a memory. And further still. So when I write that summers are weird, I do not mean it in a bad way. It is just different from how I understand summers are supposed to go.
From about high school on, the end of these summers have been difficult to navigate. In my adolescent and college years, the end of camp felt like the end of the world. I got to be a part of some awesome communities that loved God, were tons of fun, and accepted me. I had a front row seat to God working in incredible ways. Re-entry into the real world was semi-devastating. August was typically a month spent in a funk.
The end of summer is a bit different now. I still love the community, but the context has changed. I’m 30, married, and we have 2 kids. Rather than being a member of the program staff, I am now the assistant director. This past summer has been the busiest of my life. Having written all the dramas for the first time in addition to the Bible studies, other responsibilities, and being a dad and husband stretched me pretty thin at times.
It makes the ending sort of bittersweet. I will miss the heck out of those staff members and the meaning-flooded aspects of our days together. But it is also nice to be home, to rest, and to regain some semblance of normalcy.
So re-entry is less traumatizing these days, but it does present some sort of minor identity crisis. I am not a fundamentally different person in the summer as compared to the rest of the year. But so much of my life is so different: We leave home behind. Our dog goes away to Tennessee for two months. I run less. I blog less. Shoot, I even tweet less. I live in a room with my kids and in a house with 12 other wonderful people. I teach Bible studies almost daily. I play in a band. My day is (fairly) structured from 8 AM (or earlier) until midnight (or later). Those days are centered around communicating the gospel.
When I adapt to that for two months and then it suddenly ends, I often come home and ask “Who the heck am I?” That confusion has been enhanced this summer by the fact that a busted air conditioner has sent our family to live at my parents’ house. It is just strange to go from gogogo to…well, a different kind of gogogo (we do have a toddler and an infant).
I find myself lost in my thoughts a lot. There is almost a quality to it in which I wonder if it was all a dream. Spiritually, there is always a letdown. Even though I know it’s coming and pray that I won’t let it happen, it happens. It takes a little bit of time to remember how to follow God in a less structured context.
It’s the end of summer for me. It has been a challenging, beautiful, tiring, and good summer. It is time to re-adjust, rest where I can, and figure out what happens next.