Lazy, hazy days of summer. We’ve all heard that expression and probably wonder, in the midst of very busy lives, how in the world summer can be considered lazy. There are so many summer activities to share, so many gatherings we don’t want to miss, so much outdoor garden and yard work to be done, plus the time with children and grandchildren, and planning and going on vacations, all while keeping up with work and the ordinary demands of life. Lazy! Really?

Lazy has a very bad connotation. It’s negative and casts aspersions on us Americans who are supposed to be productive, helpful, contributing, and busy. Might it be that we are too busy? Maybe our lives and our world could be better if we remembered how to saunter, how to walk slowly in a relaxed manner, and even to lollygag a bit.

Rest is a precious ointment, so important for our spirit. Jesus taught us the importance of slowing down, paying attention, looking at the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. Jesus never offered “seven secret coping strategies” to get work done faster or “six spiritual stress management techniques” to enhance effectiveness. Instead he offered the simple practice of rest as a natural, nourishing and essential companion to our lives. “Learn from me,” he said, “and you will find rest for your souls.”

Maybe we can all do some sacred sauntering this summer, some lollygagging. Did you know the word ‘saunter’ comes from the middle ages when many people took walking pilgrimages to the Holy Land? They walked slowly and mindfully on their journey and people called them the sante (holy) terras (landers) – the holy landers, the santeterras which became saunterers. Let’s all become holy-landers.

Let’s slow down, pay attention to each step, hear Jesus invite us to put away the planners, and live in the spirit of vacation. Let’s make space for beauty and goodness around us. Let’s enjoy some sacred summer sauntering.

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