Lueur d’été (Summer Glow) 

I have to admit: I love the summer break! Everything slows down a bit. Everything is less hectic; including for those who have to keep working. There is a certain atmosphere that no other time offers. A French song that embodies that summer feeling for me is “Lueur d’été” from the movie “Les Choristes.” The lyrics are almost  like a poem dedicated to summer:

C’est le temps de l’été………. It’s summer time.

Et souvent de liberté ………. And often (a time) of freedom

Les nuages effacés………. The clouds are erased

Premiers émois………. First emotions

Frissons de joie………. Chills of joy

Tout s’anime………. Everything comes alive

Tout devient si léger………. Everything becomes so light

Vivre apaisé………. Peaceful living

When I listen to it, images of days spent on the lake or at the ocean come to my mind – images of  ice cream, of warm summer nights spent outside with friends having a blast. 

In our busy and often stressful times people long for that summer break where they can relax and enjoy summer. A couple of weeks ago a family member told me that if he doesn’t get to go to the beach to surf during summer break, he will not have the energy to endure the school year. While this might be a bit of an exaggeration, it is true that we all need moments where everything comes to a standstill or at least where things slow down a bit. In many European languages (and maybe in other languages, too?) we even have a very fitting metaphor for this. We call it “recharging our batteries.” After those horrible years of Covid restrictions, the need to do so has become so strong that there is even a new term for it in economics: “fun-flation.” It refers to the fact that despite higher prices due to inflation, people are spending more money on traveling, nights out, or concerts than in a very long time, driving up inflation even more. It again shows us how important those times are, when we can relax and recharge our batteries. 

I hope and wish that many of you enjoyed a beautiful summer break that allowed you to recharge your batteries by going on vacation, visiting friends or family in other places, going to the beach, on a cruise, or simply enjoying some time off at home. 

School has started again at St. Nicholas School this week and for some the question may arise: How do I keep those batteries charged? When talking to people after their summer break they often tell me how good they felt after the summer break, however, within a couple of weeks – sometimes even within days – all that relaxation is gone. They feel the same exhaustion and stress they had before their vacation. 

How do we avoid this? I think it is important to remember that God offers us many moments where we are allowed to recharge our batteries not only during summer break. For instance, every Sunday we are offered a whole hour where we are invited to nothing else but to be filled with God’s love and strength. Madeleine Delbrel, a French mystic and Saint, reminds us that we should not only use Sunday Mass to do so, but also use moments in our daily life to pause and recharge our battery in prayer. She says that moments such as waiting on a red light or taking the elevator can be moments to pause and connect with God in prayer.

At the same time I am convinced that we have to create those moments ourselves. I, for instance,  can recharge my batteries when I take my dog for a walk in the woods looking at God’s beauty in nature or I do it meeting with friends enjoying a beautiful evening with a delicious dinner.

There are so many possibilities God offers us to recharge our batteries, not just during vacation times. But we have to plan them in the same way we planned our summer break!

Another very simple but very good way – at least for me – is this: sit down and listen to a favorite song. Who knows, maybe you’ll also discover “lueur d’été” to be such a song making you think of all those wonderful summer memories you spent with your loved ones!

Be blessed and be relaxed, 

Fr. Johannes 

PS: Here’s the YouTube-link, just in case you wanna try it! 🙂