By now, many of us have already finished our regular classes for the year. It used to be that the summer months gave us some peace and quiet before it started all over again. Lately it seems like we never slow down, and we have to force ourselves to take a breath (and time off). When our regular classes are done, we start rolling out summer adult faith formation series or Vacation Bible School, and we have meetings about the upcoming school year. We work to complete volunteer background checks long before classes start again this autumn. Busy, busy, busy.
I’m guessing that if you were to get a list together of all your summer projects, you’d have quite a list too. Through it all, however, we have to take care of ourselves, along with the staff members who work with us.
When I worked in a parish, I began the summer with a day retreat for my staff and me. We went away to a local retreat center, spending the morning praying about and discussing the past year: What were we able to accomplish? Where could we improve? After lunch, we prayed about what we thought the Lord was asking of us for the upcoming year. We developed an action plan, and by the end of the day, we had a good sense of what we were planning to accomplish.
Our little action plan brought a great deal of peace to our summer. We all knew what we wanted and needed to do, and we went about our tasks with a clear sense of purpose. This set the stage for a great year to come.
What are some ways you build downtime into your summer? How do prayer and discernment fit into your planning?