What was your first worst job? I grew up in Door County, WI, known for its cherry harvest, which came to fruition in mid-July. That meant that kids from about age 10 and older were required to bring in the crop by picking cherries into pails, where we would earn the prevailing wage of 35 cents per pail. Motivation was rampant. Orchard owners needed the labor, parents were more than happy to ship their kids away on open bed trucks which would drive through the neighborhood, and kids were (in many cases) motivated to earn money for the upcoming county fair.
Why Summer Makes Me Itch
I hated it. It was summer, and we had to get up early for those two weeks. The truck ride to the orchard was scary, and the orchards were wet with dew. I picked something like 8-10 pails per day, all the while collecting cherry juice and dust down my arms. There were bees and mosquitoes and humid, hot air. Summer made me itch.
With memories of my first worst job, I still itch about this time of year–but for other reasons. I’ve had some down time, and I’m peering around the corner to the fall, when we start to hit the ground running. I’m itching to get going, but the calendar slows me down. So I’m also reminded of this simple pneumonic, to help me keep pace and perspective.
Four Rhythms for Summer
Divert Daily: Take time each day to slow down, pray, read, gain a higher view.
Withdraw Weekly: Take a day off each week and completely unplug from work.
Maintain Monthly: I’m scheduling a retreat day for later this month to truly breathe. I use the retreat guides from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants.
Abandon Annually: Before the summer is out, I’ll have my next week of vacation planned.
Maybe you’re itchy, too. I hope this is a helpful reminder of what these seasons are for.