This most special week, a week where the holy confluence of the Jewish celebration of Pesach (Passover) and the Christian Holy Week brings an intensity to everything, I wish to begin, not with hope and joy, but with the Good Friday mood of loss.
With the announcement from Susan Stark and the Executive Governance Committee that upon the recommendation of Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin, in concert with Governor Mills, the Maine Center for Disease Control, and the US Center for Disease Control, MCWS is committing to online learning for the remainder of the school year, and also with the word that, It is with regret that the Maine Principals’ Association announces the cancellation of the 2020 spring athletic season, it feels important to allow ourselves a moment to feel the loss that is hitting us from all sides.
Though I have been blown away by the resiliency and ingenuity of the students, parents, and teachers in the face of this shift to distance learning and though I feel we, as a school community, have much to be proud of, each one of us has a reason to give in to moments of grief and despair over those things we had looked forward to this spring. In the face of the loss of classes to sports to the Model UN conference to senior project presentations to internships to the traditional versions of the June trips and end of year special events and so much more, we have all had to keep calm and carry on. I have seen many of your stiff upper lips in endless Zoom meetings—bully for us. But for just a moment here, as we commemorate the Exodus from bondage in Egypt of the ancient Hebrews and stand in awe before the notion of One Who Overcame Death on the Hill of Golgotha, let’s take a moment to acknowledge what we have lost and what our dear children and students have lost. Not to dwell in this state, but not to sweep it away like the dust bunnies we battle each day in our confined spaces either. Face it, feel it, and then recommit ourselves to finding the meaning and joy in our continued connection and work together.
Perhaps the words of Julian of Norwich, an anchoress in 1373, can serve as a fitting meditation during this time of pandemic and in this week of Holiness:
“And all shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be exceeding well.”