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Summer’s speeding ticket

Summer can be an amazing time to relax, leave behind obligations and worries, and enjoy fun vacations with family, or gardening adventures with nature, or better yet, quiet times in the peace of a sunny day to regenerate our spirits. Families and children often learn to reconnect and celebrate their together-time again. That’s all been changed with the virus disrupting our normal course of time, space and relationships. We’ve all had a great deal more family time, which may strain relationships and make us long for alone time. Even the thrill of getting ready for back to school may not happen this year because school just might be … at home. Life has changed, but as we approach the end of summer, feeling the loss of this glorious season may stay unchanged as we face the reality of the coming autumn chill and the brutal cold of winter. Summer should get a speeding ticket.

The end of summer can be a time of transitions and changes. While there may be fewer locational changes this year, when summer drifts away, six long months of cold weather and wearing real shoes loom ahead. The work/school routine begins again in earnest, regardless of the location. The remedy to the end-of-summer blues? Lots of deep breaths and sighs, acknowledgement and acceptance of our realities, and trust in the Lord, knowing that he is still in charge.

Jesus experienced summers and transitions and had to change his plans. What did Jesus do during the summer? Perhaps he went fishing, or walking through nature, or visiting with friends. He probably went home to visit his mother and his extended family. Sound familiar? The Bible doesn’t really tell us what Jesus did during the summer, but we can imagine him doing all those things because the Bible describes him in those locations with lots of different people. Jesus knows what we experience because he experienced the same things. We can learn to get closer to Jesus by understanding that he went through many transitions, too. And we know that regardless of the transitions we face, he leads us to where he needs us and directs our every step. By deepening our relationship with Jesus, we grow our faith and develop the trust we need to truly live life as God intended.

But in order to deepen our faith, we need to plan to make some changes to our routines. We can begin by spending time in the Word of God. We must schedule time to read his Word on a daily basis. If necessary, mark it on the calendar so that it becomes a new part of your daily routine. Or have the daily Mass readings sent to your email inbox. Study his Word and take the time necessary to reflect on the verses you read and learn from them. In addition to spending time in his Word, we must live our lives as if Jesus were standing nearby, because he is.

We must allow him to take charge. We must put God first in our lives. By allowing him to take charge, we will begin to rely on him rather than trying to do life alone. We must come to God through prayer and ask for guidance when facing small and big decisions in life. When we ask for wisdom and guidance, he will always be there to help us as long as we surrender to his will. Until we give our hearts and fully surrender to God, we cannot have a deep relationship with him. We must pray, pray and pray some more. Pray all the time — not just in times of need but pray to give thanks and pray to give praise. Pray for others. Spend time in conversation with Jesus. By talking with Our Lord on a consistent basis, we will deepen our relationship with him. Think of it as any relationship we have with people in our lives. The more time we spend with them, the deeper our relationships become.

Summer gives us the opportunity to relax, recuperate and take a break from the routines of our typically busy lives. When summer ends, we can begin to reorganize our lives, establish new routines and prepare to deepen our relationship with Jesus.

During this time of virus and change and discomfort, let us soak up the last glorious rays of the warm summer sun and find peace and strength in growing our relationship with Jesus in the colder months and seasons to come.

“My soul finds rest in God alone” (Ps 62:1).

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020