Summer in My Heart
All that is found in the promises of summer has long been a theme on the lips of poets and songwriters. Poet or otherwise, I imagine we have all agreed at some point with Shakespeare: "Summer's lease hath all too short a date."
It is the time of year when we savor the days of summer, and recall what it felt like to run home from the last day of school with three months in our back pocket. For me summer vacations call to mind the shores of Lake Michigan, a scenic reminder of the origin of the word "vacation" itself; the Latin word "vacatio" means freedom.
Even so, we are sadly aware it is a freedom that does not last. Even as children on summer break we knew that vacation would end and summer would fade away. It is, in fact, this quality that makes vacations all the more sought-after; it is time set aside, time that shouts particularly of meaning because of the time with which it so contrasts. Yet regardless of its short lease, there seems a promise within the freeing days of summer that captures our hearts and remains with us through the longest of winters.
A poem by C.S. Lewis suggests that the promise we look for is that the seasons of life will one day come to a grinding halt and death will be no more. It is the hopeful possibility that we were created to know a freedom that endures. Writes Lewis:
I heard in Addison's Walk a bird sing clear
'This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.
'Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year, nor want of rain destroy the peas.
'This year time's nature will no more defeat you,
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.
'This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn, one year older, by the well-worn track.
'This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.
'Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick!—the gates are drawn apart.'(1)
What if the changing seasons, the fading of flowers, and the rebirth of summer are all signposts of the eternal? In his wisdom, King Solomon saw that written upon the seasons of time is the signature of the one who made them. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot... He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2,11). Rising sun and emerging summer declare that the heavens will neither forget nor forsake. Upon each waking flower is written the promise of resurrection.
It is this weighted promise the Christian worldview carries through the seasons: Christ has stopped the cycle of death and is coming back to bring us where he is. The effect of such a promise on the life of a believer is well illustrated in hymnist Fanny Crosby. She wrote:
I know in whom my soul believes,
I know in whom I trust;
The Holy One, the merciful,
the only wise and just.
I know in whom my soul believes,
and all my fears depart;
For though the winter winds may blow,
'tis summer in my heart.
Crosby wrote of the Christian hope she saw written across her life. Though blinded as an infant by a doctor's error, she spoke of the light of Christ and carrying the promise of summer with her. Every season presents a similar option of holding near the hope of Christ and the promise of resurrection, until a day when summer comes true.
Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
(1) C.S. Lewis, "What the Bird Said Early in the Year," Poems, (Harcourt: San Diego, 1992), 71.