Hammock. The word brings to mind lazy afternoons, relaxation and simple pleasure. It signifies the abandonment of one's burdens if only for a moment to bask in the luxury of swinging side to side between two trees, the sun warming one's face, the leaves whispering soothingly above and an occasional bird's call beckoning to a mate far away. Ahhhh, a hammock.
We bought our first hammock four weeks ago. I longed for one last summer, many times picturing its placement in our yard, but for some reason it was not a priority.
The summer grew busy and we reached September hammock-free. Unfortunately -- could it be consequently -- I struggle to recall a lazy afternoon.
This summer is already feeling different. Purchasing the hammock before the weather was adequately warm seemed a step in the right direction. My son Isaac and I hung it the same day we brought it home, placing it between two trees 15 feet apart as the instructions recommended. Funny, it was the exact spot I pictured.
Each morning I look outside and there it is, swinging softly in the breeze. During the day, the children love to play on its precarious canvas bed, shrieking with glee and laughing together as they struggle to keep their bodies centered for balance. In the late afternoon, the breeze dies down and the hammock stills, waiting, beckoning me without a sound.
The words of I Peter 5:6 say: "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God casting all your cares upon him, for he cares for you." I am learning that when my hammock beckons, it is important I go. Interestingly enough, my hammock is teaching me something about casting my cares. When I lean back and lift my feet off the ground, swinging them up carefully onto its bed, my body naturally reclines.
In this position, I better understand humility. I am no longer productive, efficient or brave. I am simply present, humbly basking between two trees, casting my cares.
Summer can be a frantic time. With precious few days of warmth and sunshine, there are flowers to plant and fish to catch, family to entertain and soccer games to attend. It is easy to make productivity, efficiency and courage our top priorities. We worry about fitting it all in.
Many times we find, however, that what begins as fun and recreation can quickly end in exhaustion and expectations not met if we do not remember to cast our cares.
Casting our cares away is not about not caring. It is about taking a moment to remember the one who created it in the first place. It is about prioritizing our daily activities based on his plan because he cares for us. It is about telling him our worries, our concerns, our fears and then releasing those burdens to him.
In the hammock I am learning to humble myself under his mighty hand.
I am discovering that his hand is a pretty nice place to be regardless of the season.
Jaimee Coon is children's director at Kenai New Life Assembly of God, 209 Princess St., Kenai. Sunday worship is at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. AWANA meets Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
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