It’s a fact that some well-worn phrases stand the test of time, and some don’t.  For young families, “the lazy, hazy days of summer,” a phrase from a classic 1963 Nat King Cole song, might not be a phrase that relates to our contemporary experience. 

Trying to schedule vacations around myriad extracurricular activities, including everything from STEM camps to summer ice hockey leagues, school work assignments to prep for the coming year, and all of the events in between, have rendered summer a little less laid-back than it was in the past.

While these enriching experiences certainly have value in the wonderful memories they create and in the great opportunities they offer for growth, it can sometimes feel like we haven’t had the necessary downtime needed to get “back in gear” by the time the fall rolls around. 

It might even feel like we never really stopped being in gear. This points to the importance of being intentional and thoughtful in our planning as we look to the fall, to ensure we aren’t swept up into the whirlwind of a new school year, and away into chaotic schedules and non-stop weekends.

Making faith central to our lives is, as with anything, the first, best, and most important step we can take.  When we are overwhelmed with to-do lists, choices, and obligations, it is faith and family that keep us grounded and our priorities right.  When we prioritize faith and family, we can really see the proper place of everything else, and we are able to have healthier, happier lives. 

The nature of life here on earth means that, even when we do our best to avoid it, we will always grapple at some point with busy weeks when we feel like we have too much to do and not enough time to do it. 

But in the call to relationship with God, with each other and with the world he created, we are brought back to what is truly important, and to what creates and cultivates the rich, meaningful life he meant for us at the moment of our creation. 

And on those days when you are tempted to give in to a request to add something to your calendar that will compromise the balance you need, just remember that, as we learn in Genesis, even God rested on the seventh day.

Jessica Donohue serves as director of religious education in St. Joan of Arc Parish, Marlton.