As of this writing I have two teenagers that are eagerly counting down the days until the last day of school. Now that I think about it, I suppose there are teachers, administrators, and parents doing the same thing. Even though the approaching last day of school does not make much of a difference in what I do, I find myself anticipating with a bit of excitement that mark of completion of another year in the life of my children. They have gotten a bit taller, learned a few more things (most of which is constructive) and are one year closer to moving out of our home and beginning their own journey.
The end of school also marks beginnings for many of us. Do you remember as a child day-dreaming about all that you wanted to do that summer? Sleeping late, riding bikes, swims at the lake, and vacation tantalized the thoughts of many a child in the waning days of the school year.
What are your plans this summer; more of the same or new adventures? I am looking forward to my sabbatical leave, which I will write more about next week. Clark will go from part time work to full time, which may or may not be something he is looking to doing. Aaron will be in conditioning training for football, so most of his days will be full. With the long days I plan to read a few more books and pick tomatoes and peppers in the evenings. I suppose by the end of July Amy will be counting down the days until school starts back again! (just teasing) Some of you this summer will be bored and others of you will not have a peaceful moment until school starts back – which, in case you were wondering, is August 9 in Columbia County.
How will you stay centered this summer? With all that is going on this summer including changes in routines and schedules, which the church is also a part of, how will you stay centered? Traditionally Jews pray three times a day; Muslims seven; and Cistercian monks chant the psalms seven times a day. In their own way, each are trying to remain centered and focused while the landscape is constantly changing.
Now is a great time to begin thinking how you can remain centered so that what is good and noble is kept in priority. Let me suggest a few things, and yes, some of this will sound self-serving but I assure you I am being sincere:
- Set aside time each day to be quiet; to be still and live in the presence of God. Prayer is not just about telling God what you need, but about listening and being comfortable in the silent spaces of the Creator.
- Keep a regular time for worship. Sunday worship should never be optional during the summer. We need one another, especially when there are so many other distractions.
- Read at least one good book that will stretch your thinking and read at least one entertaining book that will leave you smiling.
- Find time to play. Why do we think we can grow too old to play? This summer the church will be offering many opportunities for “playing” together through our fellowships.
- Enjoy your work and the labors of what you do – whether maintaining office hours or keeping house. In Ecclesiastes we are reminded: Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. (Ecclesiastes 5:18)
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we begin the summer together!