Friday, May 12, 2006

The Moods of May

I'm curious if anyone else shares the following emotional experience. When I was in college, I almost always felt the most depressed in May. It wasn't the lead-up to finals, but the post-finals freedom, transition to summer blues, that got me.

I was an RA, and I remember hanging out on campus waiting to get the last of the students on my floor checked out for the summer, and feeling just blah. The more literary term is probably "listless."

It's somewhat paradoxical that I felt that way, because for many years, I was hoping to teach in a college or university, and I very much idealized the whole "three months off for the summer" gig. But the truth was, as a student, I couldn't wait for the beginning of the next semester. Buying books and looking over syllabi made me giddy. I imagine if I were actually working in a college setting today, I'd spend every summer listlessly hoping for its conclusion so we could start the semester of classes again.

Now I serve as pastor in a congregation, and we do make a transition in May that mirrors, at least partially, the academic year. Some of our program year concludes, like Sunday school, adult forum, etc. I find myself lamenting the shift even as I see the wisdom in it. People, including myself, need a break. Nevertheless, I always wish we could do something together to just keep plugging along through the summer without the lowering of worship attendance.

Of course, my wife would be the first to remind me that we are, in many ways, even more busy in the summer than during the year, just in a different way. San Antonio youth gathering, confirmation camp, VBS, weddings, home visits, etc.

Two related insights: First, we provide in our newsletter an order of service for worship anywhere, so that families who might be on summer vacation and distant from a church, can still worship together in the summer months. Second, I remind myself and others that when we are on vacation, it is a great gift and blessing to other congregations if we visit and worship with them when we travel. Christ's body is spread throughout the world, and when we travel and worship together, we witness to this.

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