Back to School

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 edition of Delaware Communion

Back to School

It’s that time of year when there’s still patriotic bunting hanging from porch railings and sporadic fireworks at night and the dreaded back-to-school circulars start appearing in the mailbox and tucked inside the newspaper. New fashions. New backpacks. New school supplies. It’s time to ring in a new school year. The start of this school year is especially relevant for me because my little girl will be starting her full-day school career—kindergarten.


How did that happen?

It seems like only yesterday there were tearful hugs for her first day of St. David’s Day School, or for that matter, my wife and I loading her into the car for her first car ride home from St. Francis Hospital. Perhaps I’m just being nostalgic, but you, like me, probably sit back occasionally and wonder where does the time go? Sure, there are rites to mark milestones: birthdays, christenings, graduations, and so on, but even they seem to fuse and run together as a single stream of consciousness, and next thing you know you’re dropping your infant off for her first day of Kindergarten.

Noticing this shift in my family life has caused me to take note in my work life. I’m a funeral director by profession, so as you can imagine I sit through a lot of…you guessed it, funerals, milestones of their own. Not a week goes by without hearing the perennial funeral favorite from Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Lately, I’ve noticed that this bit of scripture is particularly germane because we’re all in a season in our lives. Mine happens to be “new parent”, which leaves me wondering where did “college student” and “young professional” go? Those seasons are distant memories—even more of a reminder to pause and enjoy today.

Especially in our hectic culture where everyone is connected 247 and we jam as many activities into the day as possible, we need to stop and pause to notice the purpose, the joy of the season. Of course, there is a time for soccer practice and a time to grab a bite to eat and rush to baseball practice. And there’s a time for piano lessons and a time to change-in-the-car on the way to swim practice and beat feet out of swim to make it to a play date. Make time to simply appreciate the moment, the purpose.

Soon enough the circulars will start appearing yet again marking the beginning of a new school year, and the promotion of a child or grandchild to the next grade—another year gone. Or to be a bit more rock ‘n roll and quote the Rolling Stones (from perhaps one of their most underrated albums, It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll), “Time can tear down a building or destroy a woman’s face. Hours are like diamonds. Don’t let them waste.”

As for me, I’m going to try and enjoy the season.