Who can forget Alice Cooper's classic ‘70s anthem "School's Out for Summer?" blasting on the airwaves? Even "millennials" have heard it! It's funny how we follow the rhythms of the "school year" no matter how old we get, no matter what job we have. Most of us greet "summer" with the same enthusiasm as kids in school. Even though we continue to work, there is something distinctively different about this time of year, a different "feel." Lawn mowers start humming, the outdoor furniture comes out of storage, barbecue grills are fired up, picnics are planned as well as weekend trips to the shore or the pool and, once again, we are amazed at how our bathing suits have shrunk during the winter!
Yes, summer has arrived with all the fun and frolic we look forward to so much. We "need" summer --- it provides an extended "attitude adjustment" that only sunny days and warm temperatures can bring after a long winter. So, we should take advantage of it while we can, any way we can. And don't forget the sunscreen!
Among the things that come with summertime is the chance to catch up on some reading we can't seem to get to during the rest of the year. Whether it's a visit to Barnes and Noble or a click on Kindle, a good book can bring some real pleasure and satisfaction. As our bodies relax and unwind in the summer sun, our minds and imaginations stretch a little in the pages (paper or electronic!) of a good book. So, how about reading "THE Good Book?" Why not check out the best-selling volume of all time? It's all there: literature, poetry, stories of every type, history, biography, drama, inspiration, tragedy and, yes, triumph. With a little extra time on our hands, why not read something that strengthens and supports faith? It doesn't get any better than what the Bible, especially the New Testament, has to offer. Just a thought.
Summer also gives us the chance to exercise a bit more, whether it's a good run or jog, some swimming --- not just splashing --- a round of golf, a softball or volleyball game. Everybody agrees: a little exercise goes a long way. Here's a thought: why not exercise our souls as well as our bodies? Sunday Mass is "part of the deal" of being Catholic --- why not head to Mass one extra day or more during the week? What a great way to start a summer day! We know that good feeling we get after some exercise --- how about stretching our souls as well? Just a thought.
If there ever was a great time to be with others, summer is it. Why not make summer a real family time? Do things together with our family. We have more time. It doesn't have to be a big family vacation or trip. It doesn't have to cost a lot. It just takes a decision, a commitment and some follow through --- and everybody can take part. Good old-fashioned family fun! Think for a minute ... when was the last time we wasted time together with our loved ones? Just hanging easy, hanging out ... together. Just a thought.
George Gershwin penned the famous line in his legendary "Porgy and Bess:" "Summertime, and the livin's easy." Well, then, let's enjoy it. Let's give ourselves the time we need to relax a bit and unwind. And while we're at it, let's give a little of that "extra" time to God ... reading his Word, praying at Mass, and experiencing him in the love of family! Happy summer!