Summer is more than half over. As a result, the common topic of conversation has made the inevitable transition from eager anticipation of summer activities to disbelief at the passage of time and disappointment in the laundry list of remaining summer goals. I have noticed that I now talk about these goals much more than I work toward them. At the beginning of the summer, I dove right in and checked things off my list . . . and postponed other items, considering there was still plenty of time to do the rest. Now the time has come to finish the rest; but all our talk makes the end seem so near that it feels useless to begin projects that may not be accomplished. Suddenly, I am anxious that much of my summer list will go unfinished; and yet, I am just as unmotivated as I am anxious!
In the movie “Mary Poppins Returns,” the intrepid nanny emphasizes, “Today or never. That’s my motto!” I don’t entirely agree with this. Not everything can be done today, and some things are better done at a more opportune time. Some things are better planned and accomplished in stages. But this motto does offer the insight that we continually fail to say “today,” the day we accomplish our goals truly will be “never.”
I think a much better motto is the commission at the end of Mass: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your lives.” This should be the litmus test of our actions and dispositions. Does constantly talking about the time warp of summer promote peace for myself and others? Does it glorify God? I am inclined to say it does not, and if this is an accurate assessment, it should prompt change. The commission truly is a mission entrusted to each of us, not a flowery farewell. We should motivate our lives according to this mission.
For myself, I know I can often become all talk and no action. But this does not glorify God, and I know it by my lack of peace. Next time I find myself talking about how crazy it is that summer is “practically gone,” I will instead look to my list of goals and choose one to work on that same day. I will not say “today or never” to everything — that would only induce hopelessness and dissatisfaction — but I will say “today or never” to something, to at least one part of a goal. This is not to say that God is only glorified by productivity, for that is certainly not the case; but he is definitely not glorified by my listless complaining and wasting of my time, talent, and treasure.
No matter what season of life we find ourselves in, our motto should be to go in peace and glorify the Lord by our lives. Whether in the bitter winter of broken relationships, the buoyant spring of new opportunities, the cool fall of habit and routine, or the hot summer of discouraged laziness, we must attend to our mission and be faithful to our duty. Let us glorify God and hold his peace in our hearts in everything we choose to do.