We are in what has been called the “Dog Days of Summer.” That phrase strikes me as particularly funny. What does if even mean? Does it mean, when its hot the dogs simply stay on the porch in the shade and pant? Why dogs, everybody is hot during this time of year. The sun is out, its fiercely hot, and there seems to be no relief anywhere in sight.
When I looked up the meaning of Dog Days of Summer, I found an article from National Geographic which explained the original meaning. Becky Little of Nat Geo says, “To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year, a period that could bring fever, or even catastrophe.” It was of course the time of drought, heat, and then of course, it seemed as if catastrophe would strike during these times. We have simply relegated the meaning to being the hot July days when the heat goes on unabated.
I know you’re asking yourself, why am I talking about Summer heat, dogs, drought and catastrophe? Maybe its because the heat is unrelenting. Maybe its because we are seemingly in a cycle of disaster. Maybe its because we all are looking for an end to what we’re going through.
The truth is, I’m not a Summer person, I much rather prefer the Fall of the year. I prefer the cooler weather, the sights, and the smells. I guess what got me on this track was listening to a Bob Seger ballad titled, Night Moves. Night Moves is one of my favorite Seger tunes, along with Against the Wind. In Night Moves, Seger is recalling the days of his youth and exploring his pent up desires, and wanting to grow and mature. He recalls that time as summertime. As he grows older, he moves into the the autumn of his aging. Its those words that struck me as particularly poignant. “I woke last night to the sound of thunder. How far off i sat and wondered. Started humming a song from nineteen sixty two. Ain’t it funny how the night moves. When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose. Strange how the night moves. With autumn closing in.”
Friends, I’m in the autumn of my aging also. And it is funny how time moves as autumn closes in. When I was younger, in my summertime, it would have been so difficult to see beyond the now. I would be going crazy locked in. I would look for all sorts of ways to break the rules and to get out and about. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? Whatever the worst was, I would have been sure I could beat it, and if not, there had to be a remedy somewhere if I couldn’t. I’ve grown since then. As I enter my autumn years, I realize how truly precious life is. I realize that I am vulnerable and fragile, and my days are numbered. Because I realize the preciousness of life, I also realize how much responsibility I bear for all of life, mine included. God gives us life to live, and then sets us free to live it. We don’t acknowledge that enough. We don’t give God enough praise and glory for this precious life we are living.
While certainly the pandemic is a catastrophe of epic proportions, even in its midst, in the midst of the Dog Days of Summer, we are called to preserve and protect our lives and the lives of others. We are called to be watchful and careful as we seek to bring this pandemic under control. Above all, even in the heat of Summer, even in the roiling Coronavirus, even with the searing heat, we are called to give God the glory for our life. Above my front door is a sign that reads, “Life is not measured by how many breaths we take…but by the moments that take our breath away.”
What I hear God saying to us right now is, “live in this moment with me.” This moment is what we have to experience our life with God. This moment is what we have to truly value what God has given us. This moment is what we have to honor the lives of those around us. Whether we are in our summertime or autumn, we belong to God, and its God we honor by making sure we safeguard the life we find all around us.
Blessings and Peace as we journey together,