Columnists Mark my words

Please, just gimme a break

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

With the completion of this issue of The Leaven, it’s time for the staff here to breathe a sigh of relief. We now enter “summer mode” when the paper will come out every two weeks for the next few months.

Each year, The Leaven comes into your homes 41 times. That translates into 656 pages. Those 16 pages each issue come together by magic — the magic of managing editor Anita McSorley who diligently plans and assigns the stories; of production manager Todd Habiger who creatively designs each issue and lays out the pages; of intrepid reporters/photographers Joe Bollig, Moira Cullings (also our social media editor), and our dependable and flexible bevy of freelancers; and of Beth Blankenship who handles the often thankless job of keeping track of the bills, ads and calendar items.

My job is to proofread the pages each week, quibble about punctuation and capitalization, and generally get in the way of everyone else’s work! Oh, and this column is the last to be finished each week, sliding in just under the deadline. Over those 41 issues each year, you’re asked to “mark” over 24,600 of “my words.”

I’m always reminded at this time of year of the little girl who was asked, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” Her reply? “Tired!”

I know it’s not just the Leaven staff that’s tired. These past few weeks have been filled for so many with first Communions, graduations, weddings, sporting events, school activities and Mother’s Day gatherings. Echoing that old commercial, we beg, “Calgon, take me away!”

Summertime can provide that relief, but only if we choose to make it so. Sadly, these next few months can be just as busy, if not busier, than the rest of the year. If you want to break that cycle, it’s as simple as rediscovering the practice of the “Sabbath.”

This story illustrates the idea well:

Many years ago, a boy was given a priceless possession: his deceased grandfather’s gold pocket watch. One day, though, while playing at his dad’s ice plant, he lost the watch amid all the ice and sawdust.

Frantically, he searched and scratched, but came up empty. Suddenly, he realized what he had to do. He stopped scurrying around and became very still. In the silence, he heard the ticking of the watch and was able to recover his treasure.

How easy for us to lose our joy in the scurrying around in life. But it’s always there . . . if we take the time to pause and listen. (Story adapted from “The Watch Ticks On,” found in “Illustrations Unlimited,” edited by James S. Hewett.)

Is “Sabbath,” a time to pause and listen, on your summer planning list? To truly become human beings again — and not just human doings — stepping away from the rat race of our normal schedule is essential.

Some ways to do that are:

• Pop into an empty church or eucharistic adoration chapel during the week and sit quietly with the Lord for at least 15 minutes.

• Invite a friend or two to a leisurely lunch or dinner, outside if possible.

• Browse through an art museum or bookstore.

• Spend time in nature.

• Set up a weekly family reading time, picnic or board game night.

• When on vacation, resist the temptation to check email and Facebook.

I keep a “fun adventure list” on my phone that I regularly add to as ideas pop into my head. You might consider doing the same.

This summer, I’m looking forward to whittling down my list. Hmmmm, which of the 84 items there will I choose? Gee, I think I need more summer!

About the author

Fr. Mark Goldasich

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