Posted by: liturgicalyear | August 23, 2012

August wanes, September looms large

Yesterday I looked at the calendar and said to my younger daughter, “Wow! You start back to school one week from today!” to which she promptly quipped, “Quiet! Don’t remind me!!”

I don’t know about you, but these days, as the sun sets earlier, and the daylight winnows, and the mornings greet me with a cool, refreshing dampness, I often find myself carrying a bit of melancholy.  September approaches.

As a kid, I remember the summer seeming sooooooo long, and I anticipated the new school year with a combination of excitement and dread.  I remember one year, I can’t remember how old I was  – maybe going into seventh grade, 12 years old – as I left the comfort of elementary school & headed towards junior high – lying awake for what seemed like hours, then tossing and turning, attempting unsuccessfully to sleep.  A Doobie Brothers song was stuck in my head, and wouldn’t leave, and it kept waking me up.  To this day I remember the scene vividly, everything, that is, except the name of the song.  It was awful!!!

As a young woman in the work world, I didn’t notice September as much, because the work world doesn’t demarcate time by report cards and progress reports or regularly scheduled vacations.  The hours from 8:00AM to 2:30PM were the same as those outside that period. Time blended seamlessly.  The one thing I do remember noticing, though, was the change in the amount of daylight during my morning and evening commutes, which was usually around the same time every day.  October and March seemed to grab me as days got shorter and then longer again.  Both engendered their own unique response to what lie ahead.  I began to mark time by the solstice and the equinox.

As a mom of little ones at home, it took a while for September to return as the timekeeper.  The early years were mostly foggy, but as we emerged into toddlerhood and into a community of moms with older children, the summer and the school year diverged, and their disparate rhythms returned to mark time.

As a homeschooling mom, September’s approach swirled as a real mixed bag.  I spent much of my summer designing my curriculum and figuring out what the year ahead would look like.  I steeled myself for September because the work was hard, and the days were long, but I always looked forward to the learning with my kids and the fun things we wanted to do.  I remember talking with moms who were completely psyched that their kids would soon be getting on the bus and heading back to school.  I just felt kind of down – I love being with my daughters, especially in the easy days of summer.  For me, September didn’t mean freedom, it meant work and a return to a stressful pace.

As a post-homeschooling mom, I still have a certain sadness as September approaches, mostly because I miss my kids when they’re away and because it marks the transition to another year that brings us closer to an empty nest.  It’s a strange place.

On Tuesday of next week, my older daughter will board a plane for Madrid to study for the semester.  Twelve hours later, my younger daughter’s alarm will wake her to begin her senior year of high school.  Wednesday will be a quiet and lonely day.  I need a plan so the tears won’t set the tone for the day…I think maybe I’ll take my mom out to lunch, so that we can mark the time together.

For the past year I’ve worked on trying to launch a new business.  It’s been very difficult, and I’ve put a ton of time into it.  I imagined that when this September rolled around, I’d hit the ground running.  Unfortunately, I see that nowhere in sight.  I thought I had discerned God’s plan for me, and perhaps I did, but this wasn’t what I envisioned.  I’m left feeling a bit disappointed, somewhat confused, and rather directionless.  This year, September’s arrival marks uncertainty.

So I pray.

I know God has a purpose and plan for each of us. Jeremiah tells us, “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you says the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” (Jer 29:11)  And he tells us what we must do, “When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me says the LORD, and I will change your lot.” (Jer 29:12-14)

Sometimes he makes his plan so clear that the choice is obvious.  Other times, it’s muddy, and it’s really hard to understand the path he wants us to follow.  Without consolations and clear discernment, we can feel abandoned, and we wonder where God is in all of it.  The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” (Hb 11:1)  Faith resides in the shadow of our uncertainty.

Many years ago, I had a period of time that lasted about 3 years where I heard absolutely nothing in prayer.  It was really hard.  I ached to find God in and through it.  Fr. Howie McGraw, my spiritual director at the time, gave me great words of wisdom, “Keep praying; because when you continue to pray, even though you feel nothing, that’s when you’re praying in faith.”  How true!

My task for this September is to pray in faith and to trust in God’s providence.  It is also to act in faith, discern his will, and follow his plan.  Only grace can equip the disciple to do this.  The remedy is prayer and the sacraments.

Twila Paris, one of my fave Christian singers, wrote a song I often turn to in times like these; it’s called “I Will Listen.”  (The lyrics are below, and you can hear it here.)  One line in particular reorients me and reminds me who sits on the throne and who holds my future in his hands:  “Could it be that He is only waiting there to see if I will learn to love the dreams that He has dreamed for me?”  These words become my prayer calling me to go deeper, to trust, and surrender.  I will “trust the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I will acknowledge him, and I know he will direct my paths.” (Pv 3:5-6)  And…I will listen to his voice.

Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, pray for us!  Anne

I Will Listen
Words and music by Twila Pars

Hard as it seems
Standing in dreams
Where is the dreamer now
Wonder if I
Wanted to try
Would I remember how
I don’t know the way to go from here
But I know I have made my choice
And this is where I stand
Until He moves me on

And I will listen to His voice
This is the faith
Patience to wait
When there is nothing clear
Nothing to see
Still we believe
Jesus is very near
I can not imagine what will come
But I’ve already made my choice
And this is where I stand
Until He moves me on

And I will listen to His voice
Could it be that He is only waiting there to see
If I will learn to love the dreams
that He has dreamed for me
Can’t imagine what the future holds
But I’ve already made my choice
And this is where I stand
Until He moves me on
And I will listen to His voice



  1. Thank you Anne, another school season, beautifully said. Passing of time and seeing our children succeed is God’s great blessing. Aunt Deb

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: