Even though he wears a special “uniform” for summer yard work. He cuts off the sleeves of his white dress shirts and completes the ensemble with faded, tattered, and holey jean cutoffs, with strings hanging to his knees–and has no problem wearing the outfit to town. Sometimes I can grab him by the back of the collar on his way out the door. I wish I’d thought to take a picture. (Putting that on my to-do list.)
Even though we’d been married for 25 years before the green mohair sweater that his high school girlfriend gave him finally unraveled–with a little help from someone whose identity shall remain unnamed.
Even though he has the reputation of digging “perfectly good” food out of the trash at work–and if something in our refrigerator looks okay and smells okay, it must be okay to eat. Never mind if it’s been in there for a month. And forget about expiration dates.
Even though he will clean up any leftover food on another’s plate. Not just family. Our children’s friends learned that they could just push their half-empty plates toward him.
Even though our kids still convulse with laughter when they recall my chasing him out of the house and through the yard to grab his white T-shirt enough times to finally shred it into an unwearable rag.
It should come as no surprise then that his favorite season is summer.
And that one of his favorite parts of summer is Alpenfest.
And one of his favorite parts (if not the favorite part) of Alpenfest is to stand in line for an hour to gobble up any free (or reduced-with-a-button) food that’s offered–doughnuts, chicken, soup, pancakes, banana splits, etc. And sneak back for seconds if he can.
He also enjoys the opportunity to take me out to a free concert. I can’t remember the last time he took me to one where he actually had to purchase a ticket. Come to think of it, our first date was to see the Philadelphia Orchestra in Ann Arbor, and I had to go purchase the tickets. I don’t remember his giving me money or paying me back. Hmm.
Luckily, there are many good family-friendly fun options during Alpenfest, like the Young Americans who perform outside at high noon. I’m always amazed by their endless energy and their boundless strength–no matter how hot the summer sun. They bring their enthusiasm off the stage and right into the crowd.
A free concert. But not cheap.
I want their enthusiasm. To live out a life of faith that isn’t cheap. A life that’s free. But costly.
And I want to live it out with extravagance. With endless energy and boundless strength.
And summertime excitement.
“That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” Ephesians 1:15-19 (Message)
Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King