Waiting… Listening… for the Sound of JOY!!!

There’s a lovely noise that I hear this time of year. I remember waiting for it, standing in the parking lot, watching as the final minutes ticked away. I heard the rumble of cars, trucks and Diesel engines increase. And then…

A final ring of the bells, squeals of joy, and small people streaming out of the building, screaming their happiness of SUMMMMMMMMER!!!

I still try to listen for that sound as it echoes across the neighborhood, carrying over the treetops. It makes me smile. Freedom!

Or perhaps, a change from the rigors of the testing-focused life that is apparently inevitable here in Lake Woebegone’s school district.

Instead of 6:30 bus rides, it’s a slower start to the day, or a weird part-time minimum wage job at a local eatery. Instead of tests, it’s swim team or day camp, vacation or family reunions. There is a different rhythm that comes with summer break.

Every year, our kids counted down the days. This year, our senior looked with longing at the number posted by members of her class. 27, 12, 4… and then none. Graduation came this week and we celebrated her accomplishments, as we did those of her older sister about a month ago when she graduated from college.

It’s a funny thing, though. The anticipation of those moments lasted much longer, of course, than the actual event. But it came in a flash, and suddenly was in the rearview mirror. How did that happen?

In this season of joy, reflection and gratitude, I’ve tried to be intentional about staying in the moment – watching, listening, feeling, experiencing the multitude of events and tasks that come with graduations. Planning celebrations. Carving out time for a party with friends. And then letting it slip into memories of another year.

It was fitting that the “guestbook” for our recent grad party was made of chalk on our driveway. People signed with doodles (or not) and we captured it before the weekend rains washed it away. The memories… the people… the laughter… the game of Apples2Apples, the s’mores… it was a way of surrounding this week with love and prayers.


In about 2 weeks, the final bell will ring for the younger kids in our school district… and summer truly starts for them. I’m thinking that until then, I’ll try to keep this practice of waiting and listening for the sound of JOY. It shows up more often that you think.

Thanks be to God.


  1. I had so many lovely summers with my kids when I was a stay at home mom and a seminarian…and the kids were little….now fond memories as summer is almost as crazy busy as the rest of the year….hope you enioy the JOY!


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