Carpe Æstatem

By the time you read this, summer will have arrived for my family.  The younger boys will (finally) be done with school and our summer plans will have begun.  These plans include Calvary’s Splash Canyon Vacation Bible School, many of the Free Fun Friday events funded through The Highland Street Foundation, visits to Nantasket beach, and getting ice cream at Sully’s  on Castle Island.  We will also be taking a road trip to visit friends and family along the East Coast, spending time in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington DC.  Finally, our summer will be filled with late mornings, long walks, and plenty of summer fare (steamers, corn on the cob, watermelon, hamburgers, potato salad).  Sadly, before we know it, it will be September 6 and school will begin again.

Summer vacation will be just ten weeks (sixty-nine days to be exact) for children enrolled in Boston’s public school system, which includes my school-aged boys; ten weeks of unstructured play, ten weeks of daytime television, ten weeks without homework or studies.  This well might be my middle son’s last unencumbered summer vacation, as we are prayerfully anticipating his graduation from High School this time next year, and at that time he may be too old to hang out with the family.  My wife and I will have a number more summers with our youngest, but he, too, is getting older and may not want to visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum or sit in the sand with mom and dad.   I feel that we must seize this opportunity to spend this extended time together as a family before it is too late.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

I am asking the Lord to teach me, enabling me to gain wisdom, as I number the next sixty-nine days.  I am numbering eight days of vacation: sixty-one days; five days of VBS: fifty-six days; nine other Sundays: forty-seven days.  Help me, Lord, to spend some part of these next forty-seven days together with my family.   Help me, Lord, to make a memory every day this summer with my wife and with my children; actually, help me, Lord, to do this beyond the summer – on day seventy and day eighty and day eight hundred, if God should grant it possible.

I wonder: what memory could we make today with a loved one, or what recollection can we plant for another day in our intervening hours with a friend?   Truth be told, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, let alone a whole summer vacation: all we have is now.  Some of the things I put off until another day may be lost altogether as preferences change and people mature.  Will you join me as I carpe æstatem (which is Latin for ‘seize the summer’)?   Perhaps that means consuming a pint of whole-belly clams at The Clam Box or spending the night under the stars at a state park.  Whatever it means for you, do it; don’t wait for a better day or a warmer night.  Summer memories await… carpe æstatem!

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