“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”- Wind in the Willows

And so summer ends. 

With the sun glinting off wet paddles and dancing through the waves and the laughter and the eyes of good friends.

How perfect for it to end on the water, in a canoe—where I always feel more alive than anywhere else. How perfect that it ended with friends, on the water, in a canoe.

The water gurgled, and we tipped canoes, and jumped into the river to float lazily in the sunshine, and looked for the best way through the rapids.

We laughed at Krispie’s distressed expression as her canoe found the rocks like a magnet finds a nail, and at Johan as he traumatized our fellow campers with his striking rendition of a donkey, and at the way it took three men to make a pot of coffee.

The girls looked like flopping hippos all weekend as we tried to climb back into the canoes, while the guys seemed to always jump back in with an easy elegance.

We jumped off rocks into the river bruising our knees on submerged rocks, and then argued as to why some hit bottom and some didn’t.

We sat around our camp fire and talked and told lame jokes and insulted each other.

We cut up huge piles of carrots and peppers and ate with appetites only the water can create, feeling like we had never had tastier food.

And always when we looked around we were surrounded by friends, and the sparkles in their eyes.

Its the Complete. Perfect.

End to the summer.

The summer that came at first like glimmer of warm hope.

 I looked at it, distrustful of its reality after a winter of barrenness. After a darkness where I couldn’t see more than a candles light in front of my clumsy feet. And I walked and stumbled in the darkness, some nights laying where I fell in front of the enemy and felt doubt like waves, icy cold lap at my face. When all I could do was raise my head enough to look behind me and see others fighting on my behalf, and then lay it down again. Limp. Limp from clinging frantically to the cross, clinging to nail scared hands, cling to the crazy idea that hope somehow would come from that bareness.

I had no idea how crazy true that theory was.

The summer that blossomed in to a miracle of freedom.

The summer that took Esta from the way she was and turned a lifetime of lies inside out, upside-down, and opened up a whole new world she never dreamed was there.

It came softly at first, until the sunrise that dawned after a night of clenched fist, and I watched it from the porch and suddenly saw the truth and stepped into the freedom that He offered. Stepped into unreasonable hope that was so overwhelming, it didn’t seem possible.

He gave me the desire to laugh for no reason at all, and I did.

And when we feel like our insides are blow apart, they often are, and the healing of them is the paradox of love and an empty tomb and unspeakable joy.

Life is beautiful. Painful, messy, beautiful.

I dance in freedom I never dreamed

And I cry tears of thanks for a worth

I never thought I would own

And I have more worship in my heart

Than I know what to do with

Overflowing with gratefulness

For a heart given the gift

Of brokenness.

It been a lifetime in coming.

“All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.” -Wind in the Willows