Chasing sunshine

Today was one of those Tennessee February days when everyone is talking about the weather.

“What a beautiful day!”

“Can you believe this sunshine?”

“Did you hear it’s supposed to get up to 70-degrees this weekend? Crazy!”

We stand under the sun’s rays and drink it in like we’ve lived underground for the last three months. We gulp it down with closed eyes, our retinas unable to withstand the brightness. For those of us prone to melancholy during gray, sun-less days, this is better than any antidepressants—Prozac from the heavens.

My youngest was just as excited about the pleasant weather. His heart still beats loudest for the sunny African days of his first five years of life so it took no arm-twisting to convince him to play outside. I pulled a camping chair from the garage and placed it strategically in a sunny triangle on the edge of the driveway to simultaneously watch him play and to read a magazine. (Moms are pretty awesome at this kind of multi-tasking.)

Our yard is blessed with several trees—mostly shaggy cedars and tall, tall pines—so it was only a matter of time before my sunny spot had been eclipsed by the surrounding shade. I felt the lack of sun before I saw it, shivering slightly in my t-shirt. So I moved my chair five feet to catch the sun again. Ten minutes later, I felt another chill. I scooted away from the house and right into the center of the driveway, a concrete square by the garage doors, the only warm spot not in our sloping, grassy front yard. My son rode his bike in circles around me like we were in a very boring circus act.

We spent the hour before it was time to pick up his older brother from school in this way: him peddling and me scooting. And my relentless quest for sunshine got me thinking about other pointless ventures.

King Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, called these kind of meaningless activities “chasing after the wind” or in my case, the sun. (If you’re feeling overly happy, you should give Ecclesiastes a quick read. The narrator in my head for this book is Ben Stein’s monotone voice.)  Solomon calls everything meaningless: folly, wisdom, toil, pleasure. The reader might begin to ask: what’s the point?

In chapter 11, Solomon finally gives us something positive to consider amidst all of those warnings about futile pursuits.

Oh, how sweet the light of day,

And how wonderful to live in the sunshine!

Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.

Take delight in each light-filled hour,

Remembering that there will also be many dark days

And that most of what comes your way is smoke. (The Message)

I need that reminder that too much of what I spend my energy on is “smoke.” Today, I will choose to live in the sunshine!