A reflection from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., on the start of summer
It’s summertime again, although the look and feel of it is quite different this year. Most of us have been working at home or home schooling so, despite the change of seasons, it seems just “more of the same.” But it is different.
Sunny warm days, fresh air, earlier sunrises, later sunsets, the “outdoors” beckon us out of our “coronavirus caves” to enjoy the things that summer has to offer. And we should, observing whatever different precautions might be necessary to keep ourselves and others safe.
I must confess, I really enjoyed going out to eat – literally! – for the first time in months. The restaurant staff’s masks and gloves, the spaced tables and disposable menus were noticeable at first but quickly blended into the routine as the meal was served. And it was as delicious as I remembered it to be from my last visit “BC (Before Covid)” … although outdoors. By the time I left, I hardly noticed the difference because, I guess, I just accepted it.
The confinement of the pandemic gave me the time and opportunity to do some much needed work around the house – and there is still more to be done – as well as getting the gardens in shape (I had some good help to be perfectly honest!). Now, I can wander outside and enjoy the fruits of all the unanticipated labor, different than my experience might have been.
My prosthetic leg, regrettably, keeps me from the beach and water which always were my summer passions but I have learned to enjoy these things differently, “vicariously” as I watch the gradual return of families to the shore. It’s nice to see and good to focus upon the joy of others.
I am gratefully amazed at how often I hear people talk about how much they “miss” going to church. Despite the continuing temporary dispensation from Sunday obligation and the production of live-streamed, in-car or outdoor Masses, the re-opening of our parish churches for public Mass and Holy Communion this summer – although, again, temporarily limited for public safety – has been a welcomed relief to many of the faithful, even with the masks and social distancing. We all look forward to a return to fuller spiritual and sacramental life as summer rolls on! In the meantime, nothing should keep us from our prayers!
Yes, summertime is somewhat different this year but not so much as to make it unrecognizable or unenjoyable. It’s up to us, really.
Growing up, I remember my Mom saying “only YOU can make YOU happy!” How often her wisdom has come back to visit me when I have been tempted to feel a little down.
Look for the joy and fun in life this summer. Be grateful to God for all we do have! Find pleasure in the simple things, the little things all around us. They have always been there but, perhaps, the past few months have opened our eyes to really see and appreciate them … a little differently. A mask, a little social distancing, being conscious of sanitizing, these things are really not so bad when you come right down to it especially when you consider the possibilities that could face us without them.
So enjoy the summertime and the things it has to offer. You won’t be sorry you did! God bless you all!