The air feels heavy

So it’s August in Kansas. Everything is hot and humid (yes, HUMID, despite our distance from any sizable body of water), with varying shades of green, yellow and brown. The air feels heavy from the pent up heat that we didn’t get in June that is now reminding us that it truly IS summer! I guess that’s why, anyway.

The summer went fast. Too fast. I had great aspirations for what the summer would hold: some projects on my house, some studying I wanted to do, and some writing, too. Unfortunately, I didn’t accomplish many of my goals.

I have to learn to do what I can and accept my limits. I didn’t wish my time away this summer, or waste it watching stupid movies or playing spider solitare. No, I spent my precious summer days tidying up some things from last spring, preparing for the fall, and even enjoying myself with friends from all over. I had the privilege of spending some time in Florida this summer and even got to be in one of the 80,000 weddings that took place on 7-7-07! During my time in Florida, I visited one friend who serves as the young adult minister at a church and she happened to have a service project the day I was there. Shortly after that, I visited Catherine and Damon, my good friends who are doing Community Development in Gretna, Florida and while I was there, I spent 5 hours working in their community garden, picking okra, corn, tomatoes, canteloupe, and purple hull peas and then delivering it to people in their community who need it. At one point I laughed as I thought to myself that while some people go visit their friends and go to spas, restaurants, and shopping, I go plant flowers and harvest crops! You know, I think I have the better end of the deal! My manicure would have lasted only a few short days, but when you labor side-by-side with other Christians, you gain something that is certainly worth far more than a fun day out. I caught a glimpse of my friends in a new way. I also saw the ways that God can draw people together, even when they have just a scrap of time together. I feel like I truly made friends with the young adults from Forrest Park UMC in Panama City, FL, and with Miss Viola and the rest of her crew in Gretna.

My summer is almost over, and even as the air feels heavy, I sense a certain lightness approaching. There have been many challenges about the last several months for me, but the time is nearly here when the winds change and the new semester starts. I love my job working with college students. It excites me, it makes me laugh, it saddens me and it reminds me of my utter, daily dependence on God. As the winds change for this fall, I pray that the community that Christians feel when they work together would surround not just me, but the campus. The harvest that I’m most interested in is one of lives that want to serve and follow Jesus. That harvest can best be done in the context of loving Christian community. The humidity, so to speak, of relationships steeped in grace, is so thick that it just hangs in the air, allowing us frail human beings to step out in faith, grow deep roots of faith, and flower for all to see.

If I could make a weather forecast for the year, here is what it would be:
A year full of scattered showers, high humidity, but perfect for the growing season!

Through the storms that we all face this year, may we shower one another with grace, and may our roots be firmly established in the stablizing person of Christ. Yes, the air may be heavy, but the grace is holding us firm.

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About ashleealley

I am the Clergy Recruitment and Development Coordinator for the Great Plains United Methodist Church. I particularly enjoy helping people see what God is calling them to do and knowing how to respond to that. I'm an ordained deacon in the UMC. When I'm not deacon-ing, I run, or read, or spend time with family or friends.
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