Goodbye to another summer!


A childhood memory: Like most of us, I recall having a writing or public speaking assignment several times, on first days back to school: What I did on my summer vacation? I suppose that there is a danger of comparing stories and of exaggerating how great the summer was.

And if I do it right [or wrong?], I can probably elicit a little envy from others. But it’s not a bad idea to recount for others what the highlights of my summer were. It’s also valuable for us, to help us grow in appreciation and gratitude for the ways in which we were blessed over the summer.

I recall wonderful childhood summers. But I also recall whining and complaining about how bored I was, especially as an adolescent. I recall sitting in the classroom experiencing envy after hearing about the wealthier classmates.

Where has the summer gone? Yes, I’m aware that summer doesn’t officially end for a few weeks. But the Labour Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. It’s always good for us to take stock of where we find ourselves in early September.

There is the danger of criticizing ourselves or of reducing the “taking stock” to what has been accomplished or achieved? Or, worse, what has not been achieved! In that case, it’s good to recall St. Paul’s words: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what lies ahead.” The past is past and the best is yet to come.

How have I allowed myself to just be this summer? How have I grown in the past few months? Have I made new friends or strengthened existing friendships? Have I read any interesting books or articles? Have I seen any interesting films or television shows? Have I travelled anywhere new? Have there been any difficult times this summer? Has my health been good?

Have there been any significant decisions? How is family? What challenges do we have for ourselves this semester? There are a zillion projects we can adopt for self-enrichment, while also making the world around us a better place by raising awareness and funds.

How will I spend those long evenings in the fall or winter? Can I take on a new hobby? Does a project come to mind, a project with a personal interest that helps a cause beyond our personal life?

Let’s take time as the summer winds down to look back in gratitude and ahead in hope.

Philip Shano, SJ has many years of rich and varied experience working with Ignatian spirituality: teaching, writing and using it in his ministry. He resides in the Jesuit community in Pickering, Ontario.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 09:17h, 22 August Reply

    Thank you Philip!

  • Sharon Walters
    Posted at 09:49h, 22 August Reply

    For me September was always the month for looking back at the past year and for making “New Year’s Resolutions”.

  • Richard Grover
    Posted at 10:09h, 22 August Reply

    Thanks Phil.”The unreflected summer is not worth living.” 🙂 Richard

  • Lorraine Majcen
    Posted at 12:49h, 22 August Reply

    Thank you Fr Philip!! I appreciate your perspective and validation, in viewing how our summer has been and how we can look ahead.

  • Margaret Manitowabi
    Posted at 07:46h, 24 August Reply

    Childhood memories are so important it is where I go when my light is dim. Miigwech for sharing your take on What did you do this past summer? Good question I enjoyed being bossed around by my 2.5 year old granddaughter. I seen Jesus in her and God has the control. Blessings to all

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