July 2, 2020
Although it seems like a lifetime ago, a few short months ago, at the end of February, we started our Lenten journey. Before long fears of the looming pandemic were spreading and then, without real warning we were all cast into lockdown. Calendars were upended, schools were closed and in a very real way it felt like our lives were put on hold. If we think of Lent as a time of prayer and sacrifice, then this was a Lent without parallel. I am sure that like me, you were praying for an end to the situation, praying for the areas most impacted by this disease, praying for the physical and mental health of family and friends, and praying for the strength to move forward as the weeks turned into months. And sacrifice, so much sacrifice around the world this spring! We fasted from visiting family, hugging friends and playing together. None of us would have set these as our Lenten goals, because they are too difficult and too unfathomable in a normal year. Despite the calendar declaring that Easter was upon us, it seemed as though Lent continued as we stayed home and our community remained quiet. Then slowly, very slowly, we began to see changes. Businesses began to reopen, people began to return to work and finally we could open schools in a small but important first step. For me, that is when it felt like Easter, as if our resurrection was finally here.
This year our Lenten theme was “Build Each Other Up”, which we symbolized with Lego blocks. I had fully intended on using that theme for my reflection for the March newsletter, but it felt so hard, perhaps even trivial, to compile a newsletter in the throes of a pandemic. We had a Lego wall, which students could add to when they felt they had built someone up or had felt uplifted by the actions of another. At one point after the school shut, I had pulled the wall down. Its crumbling into pieces felt like an analogy to what was happening in the world, a sad day for certain. When the first students came back in June, they remarked on the missing Lego wall, remembering the fun they had, all the while reflecting on how we build community. These conversations reignited my desire to write about this theme, as we celebrate this belated Easter.
I have always been proud of how the members of our school community supported each other and the broader community, but never was this truer than through this spring. Staff members shared time, talents and resources to make remote learning a reality. Parents responded with support and thanks for our efforts. Students reached out to acknowledge gifts and express gratitude. Our community came together early in the pandemic to support Winnipeg Harvest and then a second time for Sagkeeng First Nation. Staff came out to sort and deliver our Glenlea Greenhouse plants. We thought of creative ways to honour and celebrate our farewells. Our PALs hosted a fun Ice Cream Drive Thru. Although none of the spring was as expected, in the end it was good, because we sought ways to build each other up and in doing so, built up our community.
We know that our challenges are not over yet; we still have work to do to keep ourselves and those around us safe. There is still uncertainty and the potential for things to crumble again. Still, I feel confident that we will be able to rebuild each time this happens. Just like a bin of Lego pieces, when we join together the possibilities are endless!
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
-1 Thessalonians 5:11