Sewing Hope Into Broken Hearts
Aug. 21, 2013

Back to School Shopping

It was always around this time of year that my mom would take us back to school shopping, dedicating one whole day each to myself, my brother, and my sister. She would take us on a grand excursion to various malls, office supply shops and department stores so we could get everything we needed, from notebooks to new shoes, and start the year on a positive note. Finally, we always capped off our special day with a dinner for two at a restaurant of our choosing. I have many silly and fun memories from our back-to-school shopping adventures. My favorite story has to be the seventh-grade “toe service” experience. Mom and I both walked away stunned and giggling at the Nordstrom’s sales associate, who not only measured my shoe size personally and found that I had two different sized feet, but then went in the back and actually brought me the same shoe in two different sizes! However, it was her dedication to make sure that my first steps in my mismatched hush puppies were second to none by straightening my socks before allowing my foot to enter the shoe, which really started the giggle machine.

Quite possibly the best part of the day was our arrival at home. The rest of the family was always excited to hear the stories and see what we had acquired for the upcoming school year. Sitting in the living room, the family marveled for twenty minutes or so at each pack of #2 pencils we pulled out of the bag. They might have only been school supplies, but you could easily have thought we were showing off buried treasure. These trips were always special and unique because of the great joy we experienced and shared.

Have you done some “spiritual” back-to-school shopping this summer? I bet you have. If you went on a mission trip, attended a Youth or Young Adult Conference or retreat this summer you’ve done some “back to school shopping” for your faith. You might have picked up a new catechetical calculator, a new evangelization notebook, or perhaps even provided some of your own Christian “toe service.” Your faith has been energized and your school bag is full of brand new binders and blank notebooks just begging to be used.

As you arrive back home from your “shopping trip” others desire to hear about what you got this summer. It might seem to be a small experience or message but share it with your parish, your family, your friends, and strangers as if you are showing off pearls of great price. Use the knowledge you have gained and the joy you have experienced to build up the kingdom of God as you return back to school and it will transform the Church. While “school” may not be as fun or enjoyable as your summer shopping, you have to remember why you went shopping. If you never put the pen to the page, what was the point of going shopping for them? It was just a waste of time. Therefore, as we begin this academic year let us remember the words of Christ. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand where it gives light to all the house. (Matt 5:14-15)”