Can you believe it’s August already? Only twelve days until summer ends. Yes, I know summer doesn’t officially end until September 21st, but for most of us summer really ends when school starts and we get back into work and our familiar routine and lean into the busyness of the fall season with all its new beginnings.
As you prepare to say goodbye to summer, take and moment and think about the blessings of summer that you appreciate and will miss the most. What parts of this summer do you need to hang on to and maybe even carry with you into the weeks and months ahead? Maybe you had more intentional time with your family. Maybe you took the time to read a good book. Maybe you took time to just sit back in a chair, ponder and daydream, enjoying unplanned moments with no schedules pressing on you. Which of those experiences might you carry over into your busy life ahead?
School begins on August 17th and most colleges begin on August 24th. To any young folks reading this who might be heading off to college for the first time after a summer of fun, here is a little word of advice and encouragement from this old preacher. (I know you haven’t asked for any but here it is anyway).
I remember when I was your age it felt like time went by at a snail’s pace and I couldn’t wait to rush off and get started in this exciting new phase of my life. The truth is that as you get older (like me) time goes by faster than you can imagine. (See the first line of this email). To your parents it feels like just yesterday they held you in their arms. Never forget how fragile and limited and precious your time here on earth is. Pay close attention to everything you will experience in the months and years ahead: the life-long friends you will make and those who will pass quickly in and out of your life; the small, smelly dormitory room; the football games you will cheer at and the parties before and after (be smart about those, okay?); the classes you love and the classes that bore you to death—everything! All of it is a gift and you will be clutching that diploma before you know it and moving on to the next phase of your life. All God gives us is right now. Be fully alive and immersed in it. Appreciate every day and don’t take life for granted. It’s a miracle.
Oh, and call your Mom—and your Dad and your sister and your brother and grandparents every once in a while. It’s easy to think that you got where you are on your own. Remember you are the person you are because of all those who have loved and nurtured you along the way. Remember how much you are loved. No matter how far away life takes you, no matter what you achieve or what you screw up, there are people who care deeply about you.
Strive for success in all ways: social, academic, romantic, financial. But save some time and space to work for a cause greater than yourself. Use some of your youthful energy to make the world a better place. God put us here on earth for a short time, not just for “me” but for “we” too. Help serve at a homeless shelter in your area. Help build a Habitat House. Look for someone in your class or dorm who needs a kind word and a good friend. Be that good friend.
Be careful. Be smart. Be wise.
And call your Mom.
You are loved,