There are certain words that are easier to say in the summer. They belong to the family of words that help us lower our guard and open our eyes, where we do not have to focus so much on the task at hand. One of those words, which also sounds like a word that belongs to the church, is meander.
It runs contrary to so much of life. We cannot meander our way to work. We are unable to meander when we have responsibilities to fulfill. We would never meander when we are needed the most. Since efficiency cannot lead us to everything that truly matters, though, we must learn how to meander.
We can learn how to meander from a river. A river winds its way through the landscape, following wherever the current leads. A river never gets in a hurry. We can also learn how to meander from Pentecost, as we listen for the current of the Spirit of God. Efficiency cannot lead us to love, mercy, patience, or wonder. We discover those sacred gifts by meandering, taking the time necessary to cultivate them.
During the season of summer, we can practice meandering. As we move from task to task during the day, we might look up more often and pay attention to what is happening. We might meander throughout our days mindful of the people around us. When we enter the sanctuary on Sunday, we might not walk directly to our seat. We might meander through the room, noticing a different angle of a stained-glass window. As each day comes to a close, we can postpone our bedtime routine and meander outside to look up at the stars.
There is an art to meandering, and it is instrumental in the journey of faith. If we always know where we are going, we will never notice the winds of the Spirit, leading us in a new direction. Meandering is like the listening of prayer. It is noticing the beauty of creation. It is seeing the image of Christ in a stranger.
We meander by leaning into the moments between the checkmarks on our to-do list. The season of summer helps us reclaim that word, which is important to us year around.