For those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, Wednesday was the summer solstice—the day in each year when the sun is highest in the sky. “Solstice” comes from Latin and literally means “the sun stands still.” It will seem that way for the next week or so, as the sundown time in Rockville for each of the 13 days beginning June 21 is 8:38pm—varying only a few seconds within that minute.

On July 4 the sundown time finally drops to 8:37:55, and the days will begin to shorten—summer will eventually end, baseball season will be over, and cold weather will descend. And then we will be remembering and wishing for the long, golden evenings of late June.

Towards the end of Psalm 90, thought to be the oldest Psalm in the scriptures, the Psalmist writes, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12, NIV). I often think of this text at this time of the year because it seems to be saying, “Pay attention! Look around you! These days will not last forever. What can you learn from this time and place?”

The sun may seem to be standing still, but life is not. These long evenings are ours to spend and enjoy and turn into something more than just moments ticking by.

With the long days of summer comes an opportunity to seize the day, to make every moment meaningful.

The long days give us a chance to prioritize and reprioritize. What’s really important in our lives? And not just that—what is MOST important in our lives? How do we use our time to pursue those things that bring us the most meaning and provide the highest value?

And perhaps the long days also give us time to find someone in need, someone we can help. It can be as simple as affirming a friend with a message or call, or maybe helping to fill an unmet need in the community, or just sharing your time, talents, expertise, or resources with someone who could use an extra boost. The long days are for sharing with those we truly care about—our families, our communities, and our colleagues.

How will you seize these long days and make them yours?