23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
September 5th – 6th 2020
The End of Summer
As a kid, there was nothing more bittersweet than the last days of summer. My brother, sister, friends, and I would soak up every ounce of sunshine in those final days. Every last splash through the sprinkler. Every last crunch of juicy watermelon. Every last glow of the lightning bugs caught between our hands. And every last crack of a steamed crab.
As those days would tick on, each day bringing us a little closer to the end of summer, the anxiety would go up just a little bit higher. My mom would have bought our school supplies well in advance. We’d have everything checked off our list. Backpacks would be packed the night before with our carefully selected supplies and our clothes would be laid out ready for that first day back to school. But there was never any amount of preparation that would really get us fully prepared. Even now as a teacher, with all my plans and lessons and experience, I still go to sleep that night before school begins with a knot in my stomach, hoping and praying that the next day will go according to plan.
I’m sure each one of us can recall that precise feeling of the end of summer; clinging to something we love so much as we’re thrust into a new phase and new chapter whether we’re ready or not. As I think about that end-of-summer feeling, it seems there is an important lesson to be offered to us. In our faith, we believe that God is in all things. But when we say all things, do we really mean it? Do we recognize that God truly is in ALL things?
He is in the person who paid for your coffee this morning and the person who cut you off on your commute. He’s in the cheerful phone call you have with a friend and the argument you have your brother or sister. He’s in the days when everything is going right and in the days when nothing seems to go your way. He is there in all of our joys and all of our pain. There is no separating Him from any of it.
The end of summer is a great time to stop and think about that. Yes, it’s sad to see summer fade, but in that fading God reminds us to savor those good times. Soak up the sun and the sprinklers and the watermelon and the lightning bugs and the steamed crabs of life. Learn to recognize them when they are in front of us.
And when we face the unknown, when we face the changes that come for us whether we’re ready or not, know that God is in those times too. He walks beside us, making the burdens a little easier to bear and those first days of school a little less scary.
Knowing that, maybe I’ve been a little harsh on this time of the year. Maybe that end-of-summer feeling isn’t so bad after all.
– Erin Perkins