Summer in Vermont means lots of things – among them are the groups of teenagers (late high school/early college) that show up on summer “mission trips” in hopes of bringing faith to godless Vermonters (we have the distinction of being the “least churched” state). The jesus kids flirt with each other non-stop while they paint churches on the weekdays, paint local kids’ faces at the farmer’s market on the weekends and invite the locals to come over to the church for their free “summer fun” camp (aka bible camp with ice cream and grilling).
Most evenings I take my dog for an hour-long sunset walk/hike. This evening the dog and I walked one of the tallest hills/shortest mountains in town. We were, both of us, panting. The sun set as we descended – casting an orange glow on the mature green of full-on summer. As the sun fell behind the green mountains, a bit of a cool air from the north cut into the humidity – promising a cool and comfortable evening. I was content, beyond content – sated.
And then my dog and I walked right smack dab into the first mission trip of the summer. The kids were cavorting on the State House lawn while their chaperones were having a strategy session. I briefly wondered if it felt risky, illicit even, to stand there in front of the home of the most progressive legislative body in the country.
“Hello!” They said, starting toward me.
“Lovely evening!” I responded with a smile, ducked my head down, and high-tailed it out of there.
As we made our way home, I thought about how those mission trips must really be for the kids – they usually come from Alabama and Georgia and the Carolinas and Arkansas. It must be so, because if they really wanted to have some chance of convincing us that our lives were incomplete without god, they would come in March or April when the snow is tired and no longer sparkles in the sun, and when the mud can feel like quicksand during the day and freezes into icy ridges at night. I could see them having a shot then at convincing us that they have something we need. But now it is the first blissful days of summer and our cups already runneth over.