When I was in elementary school it seemed that at the beginning of every school year my teachers asked the class to write a brief essay about our summer vacations. Such a project meant taking stock of the vacation time and I always had mixed feelings about summer vacation. Most summers I read all the back issues of the National Geographic magazine or memorized the times tables or read literary classics. This was balanced by time spent playing or reading the Hardy boys novels or comic books or riding my bicycle. I always felt that I had to balance playful activities with some sort of mentally challenging activity.
This summer vacation I tried to maintain that balance between leisure and challenging activities yet again. I read books about Unitarian Universalist responses to the atomic bomb, theological diversity, burnout in congregations, and a few children’s stories for the Sunday message. This was balanced by trips to Washington, D.C. and Lambertville, New Jersey. My fiancée and I hosted a surprise party in honor of her sister receiving an Emmy nomination. For recreation I also read books about Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Spanish Civil War and science fiction short stories. That was my summer vacation.
As I reflect on the broader theme of summer vacation though I am grateful for the generations of women and men who labored to give us this time to for recreation and renewal. Our free time came through their hard work. This Labor Day let us enjoy the end of the summer vacation season and be thankful that as we begin the church year we are given free time to learn, to adventure, to relate to one another, just to be. For though work we must, there is also in us the spiritual need to play.
See you in church,