By Deacon John DeGano
I hate to break it to you… Summer’s over and its time for English teachers to begin their writing assignments with the dreaded 500-word essay, “What I did last summer.” (A true buzz-kill to any fond memory of laziness and contentment).
The ominous signs and portends were there last month when the faculty at Notre Dame High School began returning to the parking lot we share in order to set up their rooms, have meetings, etc.
Then there was a spate of flurry as students began streaming in in two hour increments to get their locker assignments. The student athletes have been training (Heck Week?) and according to one of the school counselors I met in the parking lot (to be left nameless for his/her protection), the school year was about to begin.
Where did the time go? What did the students do all summer?
And why do English teachers care that much about other people’s summer plans, anyway?
That last question reminds me of an old George Carlin bit. The comedian used to say the reason adults ask children what they want to be when they grow up is because they are still looking for an answer themselves.
Maybe English teachers should report on their summer vacations? That way the students would appreciate their own lives more and go easier on their teachers throughout the school year.
Maybe, too, the students would be moved to pity and all chip in and mow the teacher’s lawn for them during the course of the year or volunteer to re-roof their house.
It’s not just that summer has ended that is the problem, but that we have once again allowed precious time to slip through our fingers. Did we accomplish everything we had hoped (and planned to) accomplish this summer? Did we read a book just for fun? Get up early to watch a sunrise? Or break away from our electronic devices long enough to watch a sunset?
What was on your list?
If you were not able to meet all your expectations, the world won’t come to a screeching halt. Did you get to do one thing on your list that is memorable? To you, at least?
If so, then with a sense of gratitude greet the new school year with humble thanks. Walk a little straighter and taller. Don’t be in such a hurry that you forget to thank those whose dedication to your future means a bit more sacrifice on their part. You carry that memory in your heart and you should reflect on those through whom God’s love is revealed to you and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for them.
If you’re not in school, say a prayer for those who are. Pray that they have a roof over their heads and enough food in their bellies that they can concentrate on their studies.
Be grateful for your own situation. If you have a job, thank your boss. If you have a car, thank your mechanic. If you have a house, thank your parents who taught you how to save and invest wisely.
And do not fear… Summer will be right around the corner.
John DeGano is a deacon at St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, Riverside.
PUBLISHED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2012 INLAND CATHOLIC BYTE