At her blog Days of Deepening Friendship, Vinita Hampton Wright rejoices in the arrival of summer and all it bring with it. In one particular post, “The Correct Use of More Daylight,” Vinita writes that the “long days [of summer] are a gift,” and, “we would do well to consider how to approach the lengthened hours.”
I don’t know how others in catechetical ministry view the summer, but for me, it is the most welcome time of the year—apart from the start of the new faith formation sessions a few months later.
My first impulse is to spend those longer days sleeping in on the weekends and sleepwalking at the office. I’m worn down enough to want to avoid any and all labor and would rather coast through the first several weeks by cleaning my office or organizing the supply room. I should confess that not much of either really gets done when I follow this route.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), I can’t really take this tack, because Vacation Bible School is just around the corner, which actually means a lot more labor—particularly the heavy-duty physical kind—not less.
Looking at myself and how I would choose to use these longer summer days—sleep still being the biggest draw in selecting an activity—Vinita’s final thought of the post strikes me as particularly important. She writes: “My encouragement for you is simply this: consider the extra daylight in your life right now, how you will interact with it, and why.”
Examining these questions of how and why leads me to see that sleep really isn’t the right choice, no matter how appealing it is. A better choice is to see how I can use these extra hours to rejuvenate more than my sleep schedule. I can look at those places in my life where my attention has dwindled during the slow winter and spring bustle—my prayer life, family time with my husband and children, physical fitness, writing. The whys are usually self-explanatory and come down to re-forging relationships with God, my loved ones, and myself.
So I now encourage you to ask yourself the same question: How are you going to use the extra daylight, and why?
Heather Felton is a teacher and former Director of Faith Formation in Florida. She lives in northern Manatee County with her husband, two children, two dogs, and bunny. When she isn’t working, Heather can be found reading, playing video games with her family, or writing children’s stories.