I am no longer a student, but I still feel the excitement of fresh beginnings with the start of a new school year. Having attended Catholic grade school and a Catholic college, I have always operated in three different “years,” all going at once. There’s the Church’s Liturgical year, beginning with the first Sunday of Advent; the calendar year, beginning on January 1st; and finally the school year, beginning in late August or early September.
The school year has always been primary for me. The school year carries a lot more meaning than the calendar year. Things don’t really change on January 1st, unless you count your own New Year’s resolutions. It is the school year that carries with it all the changes: summer breaks/vacations are over and students move up from one grade level to the next or move from one school to another. New clothes and shoes are bought, new hairstyles are tried out, new friends are made, and new authority figures come into play. Parents put their five-year-olds on school buses for the first time and watch them ride off into big-kid-dom. For a lot of seventeen and eighteen-year-olds, a new school year means moving away from their parents’ home for the first time. Fall sports, scouts, musical instruments, Sunday school—all start up again with the beginning of a new school year.
Like I said, I am not a student myself any more, but I’m not so far removed that the new school year has lost all of its significance in my mind. I find myself thinking of this as the first “school year” of Daniel’s and my marriage—I know that’s a little silly. Of course, Daniel is going back to school this year. He had his first day of his internship for his clinical psychology masters’ program yesterday, and he’ll start up classes after Labor Day. He also works in a school, which means that he’ll be working more hours come Monday, now that the summer session has ended and a new year is beginning.
What this all means for me is that I’m really being given the opportunity to prove myself as the “helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). When Daniel’s working full time, plus an extra sixteen hours a week for his internship, plus at least one class a week along with homework, he is without a doubt going to need as much help as I can give him. I’ve been brainstorming to come up with a list of all the different little ways that I might be able to make his life easier… but I’m not going to list any of them here, otherwise Daniel will read them and come to expect certain things. And since I’ve been known to be a bit more ambitious than I’m capable of executing, I certainly can’t have that! 🙂
While Daniel will be spending a lot of his Saturdays this fall getting in his internship hours, I have a pretty good idea of what I should be spending my time alone doing. Actually, I shouldn’t be spending it alone! In the months leading up to the wedding, I was so wrapped up in planning a wedding and preparing for a marriage that I think that some of my other relationships were neglected. I heard a homily this week that included the seemingly simple reminder that the two ingredients every relationship needs are: time and attention. I need to give a little bit more time and attention to my female friendships and family relationships than I have been; I also need to focus more on my personal relationship with God through an increase in private time spent in prayer. All of this is inclusive in the vocation of marriage; while my life does and should revolve around God and my husband first and foremost, Daniel and I should be going out from ourselves to share our joy with others. I recognize this as something I need to work on—please pray for me.
Also, please pray for Daniel as he starts his new, super-busy schedule and good luck to all of you who are preparing for fresh starts as the 2009-2010 school year begins—God bless!