It’s Thankful Tuesday. I spent last night participating in one of the great American summer pastimes. I joined my husband, my brother and my sister in law at a Giants/Cubs game. We ate hotdogs and garlic fries. We also drank hot chocolate. Aimee and I covered our legs with a blanket. We wore three layers of clothes, mittens, and I sported a lovely yellow winter hat. Yes, this is month of August in San Francisco.
I’ve always been a summer girl. I love being hot. I love pools and air conditioning and stopping at the snow cone stand and playing outside all evening with shorts on. My favorite memories are warm memories. My birthday, my husband’s birthday, my son’s birthday, Young Life camp, childhood sprinkler days in the front yard. I appreciate fall. I’m thrilled for spring. Winter is necessary. But the world is most itself in summertime.
That’s why I was tentative about summer in San Francisco before we moved here. Mark Twain told me the little I knew: “The coldest winter of my life was the summer I spent in San Francisco," he said.
My husband had recited Twain's quote to me last summer while we packed our living room. I piled books in boxes, soothing myself with the notion that Mark Twain was always melodramatic. I could handle a chillier summer. Here’s what I didn’t understand:
- That my heater would be on for the entire month of July.
- That there really is no such thing as an outdoor pool in the city of San Francisco.
- That so much of what I adore about summer, even down to the type of food I love to eat, is contingent on warm weather.
Yes, my idea of summer is a Romantic notion. Yes, all of you who’ve been suffering through the biggest heat wave in years don’t feel sorry for my summer in the cloudy 50s. But, I have to tell you, I’m jealous of you. I long for heat and tank tops and shorts. I long for sunburns and tomatoes and mozzarella by the pool. I long for “summer reading” and late nights on the porch. I long for ice-cold lemonade.
So why am I writing this on Thankful Tuesday? It’s because I can’t help but be reminded that all my current summer-less sadness is not doing me a lot of good. And I want to be thankful to be here in this beautiful city. I have to admit I’ve spent the past two months counting down till I can get back to a land with summertime. But that’s not fair to the time I’m here presently. Ungrateful is not who I want to be.
So what does it mean to be grateful for something you’re not grateful for? I know I can be grateful for my family and our opportunity to be in this lovely city. I can be grateful for my friends here and my church. I can be grateful for the moments I’ve had traveling out of the city and into the sunshine this summer. But can I actually be grateful for the summer I haven’t had?
What does it mean to be thankful for something you’re not naturally thankful for?