It’s the same every year. When the last two weeks of August roll around, the elephant in the middle of my family’s living room is that there’s a new school year bearing down on us like a tropical storm and it’s time to say goodbye summer.
When summer’s over, I’ll miss the sunshine and the warm breezes that blow through my office window. But most of all, I’ll miss the campfires and the last-minute adventures and the dozens of other things that we only seem to do in the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Saying goodbye to summer doesn’t get any easier.
I used to tell myself that life would get easier when my daughters were teenagers. It didn’t. In fact, it’s becoming even more difficult because I’m coming face to face with an unfortunate reality:
The passage of time doesn’t just change seasons on the calendar — it changes the seasons of my life.
Whether I like it or not (and I don’t), it’s getting trickier to spend time together as a family. With one daughter in college, every “goodbye, summer” has become a goodbye to mornings when all four of us wake up under the same roof.
And I’m painfully aware that we don’t have too many of these mornings left before my kids start waking up under their own roofs. (At least that’s the theory.)
Spiritual Resources for Surviving the Seasons of Life
Navigating “goodbye, summer” and the seasons of life takes more than a family photo album and a box of Kleenex. To survive with your sanity intact, you need to find your spiritual footing and walk through each season in dialogue with God.
Life is seasonal.
The author of Ecclesiastes tells us that life is seasonal:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven … (Eccles. 3:1)
Life is seasonal by design. We can’t change the seasons and we can’t stop them. The best we can do is to learn from the season we’re in. And we do that by actively listening for the whisper of God’s voice in the midst of everyday living.
Present moments are enough.
We waste a lot of time and energy worrying about the future. Don’t get me wrong — planning is a good thing. But when we become obsessed about what might happen tomorrow, we miss the things that are happening today.
Living in present moments means being present for the things that matter most. You can’t experience life in the future — you can only experience it in the here and now. And incidentally, the present moment is the only place you’ll find God.
Every season has its own challenges.
You and I suffer from selective memory. We remember the past through rose-colored glasses, focusing on the good memories and editing out the bad ones. For example, although I like to saturate myself in memories of my daughters on their first day of kindergarten, I conveniently ignore how difficult it was to raise rambunctious five-year-olds.
Every season of your life, including the one you’re in now, brings its own unique set of challenges. By recognizing those challenges and facing them head on (rather than dwelling on a utopian vision of the past), you make yourself available to God, allowing him to guide you through a process of personal transformation and real spiritual growth.
The seasons are changing, and there’s nothing you and I can do to stop it. But “goodbye, summer” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. When we slow down and experience life’s seasons through a spiritual lens, we gain a new perspective and make space for the things that are most important.