According to the spiritual writer David Adam, if spring represents the incoming tide, summer is the full tide of our lives, a time of depth and growth. It is the time when we achieve much and shape who we are. It is a time to seek to enjoy life and live it to the full. We will pass exams and pass many milestones. It is a time for stretching and journeying; a time of opportunities and success.
Yet it can also be a time of danger. The summer flood tide can easily overwhelm and destroy. There are lives that let so much flow in that they are unable to accept anything new; people who are always too busy and have no time. There is a great danger of justifying our lives by hyperactivity, or by how much we have amassed.
We need to be aware that this tide will turn also; it is just one of many tides. We may be fortunate enough to have a life that is ‘all on flood’, but one day at last it must ebb. In our very riches we must make space so that we can experience the deeps that are offered to us.
At flood time there is a great depth to be explored, not just a surface to be skimmed. We are not called just to be inshore sailors, but to launch out, and to explore the mysteries of the depths. We approach the great mystery of God through the deep mysteries of His creation, through a reverence for and a respect of the world in which we live.
Full tide in particular is a time of love in all its fullness. If we do not love the creation, how can we say we love its Creator?
Some good advice on our approach to life in its fullness comes from Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov:
Love all God’s creation – the whole of it, every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love each thing you will perceive the mystery of God in all. Once you perceive this, you will begin to understand it better every day, and you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. Brothers, love is a great teacher; but we must learn how to acquire it, for it is got with difficulty. We buy it dearly, slowly, and with much labour. Everyone can love occasionally – even the wicked can do that; but we must love not for a moment but for ever.
Dostoevsky ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ – April 1878
To me this sounds like good teaching on meditation. It is also very like the approach of the Celtic Church to nature and a helpful approach to care for God’s creation. If we are able to begin to approach life like that, we shall be greatly enriched in the flood tide, the summer of our lives. I hope you all have a wonderful summer – when it comes.
With love and prayers,