Maintaining a spiritual life during summer Print
Everyday Faith
Thursday, Jul. 14, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

Everyday Faith column by Julianne Nornberg

I sat down in the midst of my children today and did Morning Prayer aloud.

Never mind that it was already 10:30 a.m. Never mind that the two little ones were giggling and grabbing markers from each other at the kitchen table.

Never mind that the older ones still needed to empty the dishwasher and take out the recycling and I still needed to start the laundry.

Never mind that we needed to pack a lunch for our day of running errands and playing at the park.

Alone time with God

During the school year, Morning Prayer was something my husband and I usually did first thing when we woke up, but now, during the busy summer months, somewhere between baseball games, swim lessons, summer camps, and berry picking, I had lost my routine alone time with God -- and it was beginning to show.

Now in the thick of summer, with campfires, fireflies, and long evenings of outdoor play, I often collapsed into bed at night having only recited the "Our Father" with the children, neglecting my own prayers and spiritual reading.

Dawn would come and off I'd go into the fray of pool time and sunscreen, camping trips and visits to the zoo, policing and organizing my four young children, caught up in a whirlwind of summertime activity that requires my attention.

Gone are the days I could pray the Rosary at leisure with my youngest, after the three oldest went off to school. Gone are the days I could attend daily Mass peacefully.

Routine challenges

Summer presents not only beautiful moments with our children, but also challenges in our routines for individual prayer time.

Yet without my prayer time, without my daily connection with God before plowing through the day, I am a wandering soul, more prone to anger and impatience amid the busy-ness.

Prayer is my lifeline, so why would I neglect it?

Because I am human and easily distracted. Because I am not as disciplined as I should be and am constantly learning and growing, along with my children.

God is always close

And yet, even during this busy season when chaos reigns, God is closer than I think.

Perhaps I'm not physically able to attend daily Mass during the summer, but I am able to pause and thank Him for the children's laughter, offer up their moments of conflict, recognize the beauty of His creation on our camping trips.

For this season of the year and in this season of our lives, God is still present to us as always, but we may need to pause in various circumstances to connect with Him in a different way.

Spiritual life is essential

Maintaining our spiritual life is essential to surviving the summer, even if it looks different from the rest of the year.

Perhaps that means getting up earlier than everyone else to squeeze in 15 minutes of spiritual reading each morning. Perhaps it means stealing away for 30 minutes once a week to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

Or sometimes it just means whispering a prayer of thanksgiving for a moment of peaceful play among the children.

Perhaps it means sitting down in the middle of the chaos and doing Morning Prayer aloud, even if it is late and no one is paying attention.

God is always listening, and He doesn't care what time it is. Plus, it is a good example for your children, who eventually will see that you are setting time aside for God amid the chaos.

This morning, I was pleasantly surprised when my oldest children noticed I was doing Morning Prayer and came over to join me.

Let the children see you pray. Let them see you do spiritual reading. How else will they learn that God must come first?

Heaven knows -- literally -- how busy God is, and He never neglects us. So even in our own busy-ness, we must never neglect God.

Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.