I think I experience more end of summer blues as a teacher/coach than I did as a student-athlete. The depression sets in heavier when I actually enjoyed my summers. This summer was no exception.
I was blessed to reconnect with family in new places and vacation with my wife to new destinations.
While I traveled, there was always an unsaid reality that clouded overhead that I did not want to acknowledge: this was going to end. I didn’t want to think about it nor talk about it. I knew it would end, but why ruin a good time by bringing up the end? Why face the realities of work when I don’t have to?
Regardless if I wanted to acknowledge it, the truth was settled. And now I find myself at that weird in-between time of not doing anything and waiting for school to start back up.
Looking for New Excitement
I miss my family and the memories created. It stirs anxiousness in me. So I try to busy myself with searching for new adventures locally, but everything is a letdown in comparison to what I experienced.
Though I have the end of summer blues, I have a greater hope that I’m clinging to: the Kingdom of God.
When the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come, his answer was probably a letdown for them. “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ Or ‘There!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:20–21).
Like the Pharisees I anticipate grand and monumental moments, but they never arrive in the ways I hope they would. But the good news is that the best moment of my life is already here. Jesus said “for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:21).
A Life of Adventure
Jesus is the kingdom of God. God’s kingdom is full of adventures, blessings, and riches beyond earthly compare. And the same spirit that was upon him lives in us who believe in him.
So the kingdom of God is in us who believe. We do not need to look forward to adventures and vacations to fulfill us. We do not need excursions to feed our hunger for awe when the kingdom of God – full of wonder, surprises, and all sorts of delights – lives in us.
This is why Jesus warned his disciples, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it” (Luke 17:33). Seeking to preserve my summers and all its’ pleasures is foolish. If I try holding on to summer adventures, I will lose the ongoing vibrancy of life I have in the kingdom of God. I waste time dreading going back to work, when I can be rejoicing about entering into a new season of introducing the kingdom of God to people in new ways.
There’s Always Forever
Cherishing the memories of time spent with the people we love is a good thing. It’s part of what makes us human. We are relational beings just like our Creator (Genesis 1:26–27). But holding on so tightly that it drives us into a spiral of depression or addiction means our vision for forever is blurred.
In Christ we are most blessed forever. In the kingdom of God we are made glad with the joy of his presence (Psalm 21:6). We have every spiritual blessing imaginable – nothing that creation can provide nor satisfy for us. When we can’t see that or when we lose sight of this truth, addiction for adventure or post-vacation blues is inevitable.
So I put my trust in the Lord to fight the depression – trusting that to and from my vacations I will not be moved, through the steadfast love of the Most High (Psalm 21:7).