Growing in gratitude for last summer days

| Kate Soucheray | August 9, 2018 | 0 Comments


No one in Minnesota wants to think about back-to-school sales, less sunlight each day, or the sumac beginning to turn red. With last winter still fresh in our minds, we want to hold on to every vestige of summer we can, tucking it away to retrieve in the coming season of snow, cold and ice that awaits us. And then when we hear we must enjoy every moment, we can feel more anxious than energized. But how else can we approach these waning, delightful days of summer?

First, begin by thinking back over the past two-and-a-half months, beginning with Memorial Day, and writing down the fun events and experiences you had and with whom you had them. Take a moment now to remember and relish these experiences and the connections you shared. Next, if you have young children, you can help them create a “Summer 2018 Picture Book” by having them draw a picture of the events or experiences that were most memorable throughout the summer. Young children could narrate a paragraph you could write for them.

If you have older children, you could have them talk about the experience, and then draw a picture and write about it. You and your spouse could design a similar memory book by creating a slideshow on your device with favorite summer pictures. Add music to enhance the experience of reliving your favorite memories, and you will have a pictorial scrapbook to send to and share with others.

Involving ourselves in moments of gratitude, rather than sadness, can help sustain us in the transition from the season of summer into the season of fall. In his letters to the Thessalonians, St. Paul writes, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” On that theme of gratitude, St. Therese of Lisieux wrote: “Jesus does not ask for great achievements; only surrender and gratitude.” Ask yourself if you are willing to surrender to the feelings of being rushed and perhaps with having accomplished less this summer than you had hoped. As you surrender to these feelings, give thanks for the lovely, long days of summer; the greenery we see all around us, due to the expansive amounts of rain we’ve had; and the special moments you shared with family and friends.

A special memory I have from when I was young is from a book my mother bought called “Summer” by Alice Low. I read it to my younger siblings until it was tattered and torn. I then found a copy when our children were young, and it, too, succumbed to the quickly-worn and well-loved collection. And then for Mother’s Day one year, our children gave me a fresh copy that I now read to our grandchildren.

As you are picking up school supplies, new school clothes, shoes and jackets for fall, take time to look back at the weeks of this summer and remember the moments that brought you and your children happiness, creating memories that will provide the foundation of your family identity. Doing so with gratitude will help you see and remember the best of the summer.

Soucheray is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a member of Guardian Angels in Oakdale. She holds a master’s degree in theology from the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul.

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Category: Simple Holiness