Rose Pikman & The Purpose of Summer
Rose Pikman is a senior at Cambridge and the Head of the Honor Council. Here she reflects upon the purpose of summer and the three practices she chose for Praxis.
What is the purpose of summer?
Every year we fight through the school year with only one hope in the heart and one thought in the mind: summer, three months of sheer freedom. But when we, students, finally reach our coveted dream, we, or at least I, feel a certain loss of purpose or reason. Our hope has been fulfilled and we are liberated of the monster known as school, that forces us to wake up earlier than the sun and to struggle through great and meaningful material. Every monster challenges the protagonist and makes a hero out of him; so, maybe the scholastic monster is for the good of us all? There is no doubt about its benefits, but that is beside the point.
Thus, school exited the scene and summer entered our lives.
When I was younger, I never liked summer, for it leaves me without a fixed purpose and routine. But now I understand that summer exists to give us the opportunity to set our own purposes, manage our time, and discover what we want in life. Moreover, summer offers the time to learn more about ourselves. I realized all of this thanks to Praxis. This year, The Cambridge School of Dallas challenged us to follow practices for Sabbath Living. There were several choices of activities of which we had to choose three and fulfill them.
The first thing that I chose was to “go on an unplugged walk or hike.” Because I did force myself to dedicate some of my time to go outside and enjoy God’s beautiful creation, I was able to mentally reflect on the past, physically process the present stress, and regain spiritual strength for the future.
From going on runs in the early morning, when such a silence prevailed that my thoughts were louder than nature and human traffic, to going on hikes through German forests, where the trees had the most beautiful green tone that I have ever seen, from walking through the hot deserts of Israel, visualizing the Old Testament or hiking up its mountains and seeing archaeological discoveries of Israel’s ancient times, I developed an appreciation for Praxis. And even though I fulfilled the requirement of this activity, I still feel the desire to go on silent runs, slow walks, or beautiful hikes.
The second thing that I chose was to “read at least one book above my intellectual level.” I think this was one of the toughest activities of Praxis, but it was also the most enriching to me personally. One of the books that I chose was Emma by Jane Austen. I read Pride and Prejudice in the winter and decided that reading another book of hers would be a good idea. Immediately, I was once more amazed by Jane Austen’s writing skills. She plays with words. She sets an incredible scene. She creates magic in her books. However, I was surprised by the amount of time it took me to read. I have never spent that much time reading only one book. I sacrificed time, but Jane Austen gave me so much more. She offered me a new disposition, an unforgettable beauty, and a fantastic experience. If you do not believe me, read and see for yourself.
The last activity that I chose was to attend lectures. I volunteered at several conferences/seminars that were either connected to my congregation or to the mission organization in Germany. Through my volunteering, I was also allowed to partake and learn from the lectures. I attended a summer program that teaches how to reach out to unbelievers, a conference about apologetics, and a conference in Israel with an archaeological tour. I learned new things and was able to be helpful at the same time. The most amazing of the three lectures was the opportunity to discover Israel’s past with my own eyes and hands.
Summer has many purposes. This season is not solely there for the reduction of tensions, but rather for the change of scenery. We should learn to use our free time well during summers. It is a time to lose oneself and find a new self-rooted more deeply in the Lord. This time should not be wasted nor taken for granted, but rather used for Sabbath Living. Thank you, Cambridge, for Praxis.
But, as with many good things, it is only at its end that we understand the nature of summer. I hope that you took benefit of all of summer’s purposes. Have a good school year!