Happy 2021?! In many ways, we have still been living as we did in 2020, but as Spring has begun, we have the hope of new life. I received my two vaccines in Jan. and Feb. so am fully vaccinated and ready to have a little more normalcy while still fully knowing that we are not yet out of this pandemic.
January and February were hard. We were still locked in our houses and the pandemic was in full force after people had traveled for the holidays. Since I have been teaching in person since August, we had a lot of students go remote in January and a lot of teachers were out due to exposure to the virus. We haven't been able to bring in subs this year because of Covid so I had to sub for a lot of classes during my planning time. And we had a very, very cold February with lots of snow and ice. Winter is hard for me anyways, but add to that teaching in a pandemic, not having much social interaction due to Covid, and just the acknowledgment that we still were dealing with this virus a year later, plus all of the division in our country, I was very, very grateful for that vaccine that could provide some light at the end of this tunnel.
I have been keeping myself busy with a lot of projects that I started in 2020. You can keep up with the podcasts and blogs and things here.
Along with the vaccine, March and Spring have brought back that hope that I was meditating on back in Advent. Warmer weather and being vaccinated mean that I can leave my house and hang out outside with friends. The governor finally expanded indoor gatherings to 50 people instead of 10! It feels so good to get some life back and start planning events and travel- still not fully the way we were before the pandemic, of course- but it is something.
It is also Holy Week- Good Friday to be exact. Last year's Holy Week was exceptionally sad for me. To have to watch some of my favorite services of the year online by myself and not travel during the Easter break was so hard. Yesterday, I got to go to Holy Thursday Mass in person. It's one of my favorite services of the year. There was no washing of the feet due to Covid procedures still in place, and still no congregational singing, but there was beauty in its minimalism and simplicity.
Just to be with my parish in person celebrating one of my favorite Masses of the year was enough. One of my favorite parts of the Holy Thursday liturgy is the praying in silence with the Eucharist after Mass. We remember Christ going to the garden to pray and we have the opportunity to sit there with Him. I always meditate on His loneliness- how He must've felt when His apostles couldn't stay awake to pray with Him- and how He must've felt alone in what He was about to do. In many ways, we can identify with that loneliness, especially in this year that we have just had. But His loneliness in the garden is not the end.
I've been using this book to pray throughout Lent and the men and women who are written about in it have all inspired me with their bravery.
We have had to be brave in many ways this past year. We have had to reach outside of ourselves and try things in new ways because of the pandemic. Today as I pray on Good Friday, I usually find my prayer a continuation of Holy Thursday- uniting with Christ's loneliness and mourning in sorrow. Today, however, I am inspired by the men and women I have journeyed with this Lent in prayer and Christ bravely carrying His cross.
This Lent has been different. We got to be a little more gentle with ourselves because this whole year has been like Lent in many ways. We have sacrificed a lot this year. Now is not the time to surrender, though, but rather to pick up the cross and bravely carry it all the way to Calvary with Jesus.
I am empowered by His act of love today. I pray that we can all recognize our bravery from this past year and carry it with us into Easter and the rest of 2021.