Originally Published on the Huffington Post (8/21/2014)
The conversations I’ve been hearing lately all seem to sound the same:
How was your summer? Nice, but too fast! I know! I can’t believe summer’s already over!
When was the last time someone complained that winter was too fast?
We spend the first half of summer trying to get to as many beaches as possible and eating too much ice cream, and the second half mourning summer’s early demise.
Is this how we really want to live? Is this really living?
In a very simple statement this week, our Torah portion, Re’eh, gives us a choice: Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse (Deut. 11:26). All of life can be boiled down to our perspective, to how we look at what we have and what opportunities are before us. It’s quite simple according to the Torah: choose to follow the commandments, and you will be blessed; choose not to follow the commandments, and you will be cursed. Taken more broadly, look at the world as ripe with opportunities, and perhaps blessings will come your way; look at the world as challenging and fearful, and well, you get the picture.
This is the philosophy I would like to suggest we bring to summer. True, it is almost over. Many children across the country have already gone back to school; my own children begin school this coming week. True, the weather is already changing: the early mornings when I get up for the gym are dark and crisp and a few leaves have already fallen to the ground. And true, the carefree days of summer, the beaches, the excess ice cream, and all of the fun will be just a memory and an extra few pounds in the months to come.
But summer gave us so much, so many blessings, and its end gives us blessings as well. Our minds are clear, eager to learn, ready for the New Year. Our bodies are aware, noting the changing of the seasons that remind us of how we, too, change, grow, and mature. And the pleasures we experienced in the wonderful — but fast — summer will propel us ever forward, seeking more connections, more delights, and more meaning.
So don’t mourn the summer... live it! Live it fully and experience it for all of its glorious blessings, to the very last ray of sunshine and the very last drop of ice cream.
Yes, summer went fast. But the blessings of the summer should last us forever.