Summer fires and fireflies

I sat on my patio tonight, the first day of summer and the first day of a 9-week sabbatical from Young Life. I’ve been serving with youth and young adult ministry now for over 35 years, and this is my first sabbatical. I sat here earlier with my wife and over the past hour by myself, admiring the sounds of early summer nature, the smell and sight of fire in my firepit, and the twinkling lights of fireflies around me. The picture captures one lone firefly straight back from my firepit.

I started reading the book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. One of the early lines hit me hard from Carl Jung: “Hurry is not of the devil. Hurry is the devil.”

I reflected on that quote while sitting on my patio for the first time in months. I only make fires in my firepit when company is over, which is rare. And I wondered, when was the last time I sat out at night simply to watch the fireflies? I did it a lot as a kid, fascinated by their almost rhythmic flickering, mingled with the sounds of frogs and crickets and the occasional whippoorwill.

I have been preoccupied with distractions and busyness, some good, and some wasteful. I turned our television off a little while ago. It was playing in the background with nobody watching. Noise. Distraction.

Tonight, I sat outside and read, drank a cup of coffee, and gazed at my fire with fireflies dancing to the flames. I breathed in the cooling June air, and took deep, slow breathes. How my body and soul needed this. 

Busyness and hurry cloud the lens of love, joy, and peace. I love this quote from Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyaman: “God walks slowly because He is love. If He is not love, He would have gone much faster. Love has its speed. It is an inner speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It is ‘slow’ yet it is lord over all other speeds since it is the speed of love.”

I want to walk the speed of love, of gratitude, of contentment. I wonder if Jesus came to earth today instead of 2,000 years ago if he would still walk from town to town rather than drive. His pace was the pace of love – slow, steady, and sure…never frantic. He was busy at times, but never hurried. He drank in each moment of each day as precious opportunities from the Father.

May our lives slow to the pace of love. May we build more fires in our firepits, and stare at the fireflies. May we spend more time reading and reflecting, listening, and observing, praying and sitting in silence.

And rest in God’s goodness and grace.

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