September is almost here. It’s the time when we normally say good-bye to summer — vacations, travel, the beach — and go back to normal life. Kids and young people go back to school.
Of course, this year, summer was anything but normal. The same could be said about spring.
On March 15, as New Yorkers were getting ready to enjoy the warmer weather, New York City announced the closing of schools, restaurants, and bars.
In addition, all summer plans for families had to be put on hold. Now, our children are going back to school without having had a real vacation and the stress and uncertainties about the month ahead are in everybody’s mind.
From that point of view, we certainly could say it was a lost summer.
We also should look at it from a different perspective. During this spring and summer, almost 180,000 Americans lost their lives.
Millions lost a wife or a husband, parent or a child, a sibling, a family member, or a dear friend.
Millions have been seriously ill and are still dealing with health issues related to the coronavirus.
Millions have lost their jobs and their livelihoods and risk losing their homes.
If you lost just your summer, you are among the lucky ones.
As Christians, we are called to show solidarity and hope — and hope and solidarity are especially needed now. We shouldn’t call it a lost summer if we used it to help others or to try and be part of the solution in the fight against the pandemic.
It was not a lost summer if we gave hope to our friends and family in the middle of the crisis.
Last week, I watched “The Lost Weekend,” a 1945 movie by legendary director Billy Wilder. (Yes, as many home-bound families across the country, we have been doing “movie cycles” at home. This week is Billy Wilder’s turn: “Double Indemnity,” “A Foreign Affair,” “Witness for the Prosecution” are on the list.)
“The Lost Weekend” tells the story of a writer with a bad case of alcoholism and writer’s block.
He is supposed to go to the countryside with his brother for a weekend to get away from the city and its bars. The writer ends up skipping the plan and stays home alone in the apartment, getting drunk and in trouble all weekend.
By Sunday, he is on the verge of suicide. Hitting the bottom and having the unconditional support of his girlfriend saves his life in more than one sense.
He doesn’t commit suicide, he decides to stop drinking, and starts writing a novel about his ordeal. It was not a lost weekend after all.
After watching the movie I was left wondering how are we going to remember this lost summer, this “lost year of the pandemic.”
Staying home for so long has been a challenge, of course, but it has also pushed us to be in constant contact with the most important people in our lives.
It has also been an opportunity to reflect and value all the things we take from granted and have been missing — from going to Church to going to a restaurant or a family barbecue.
I hope this summer has made us more conscious about the essential things and the ones that are important to us. Many of my friends tell me they have been praying more, reading more, having more meals with the whole family.
If we end up becoming better human beings and better Christians, it won’t be a lost year after all.
This is the time — with the help of God and our loved ones — to reflect and build a better version of ourselves.