The fact is, we are human. We are incomplete, have faults, hurt others without intending to do so, and we are challenged to authentically live our mission. “Life at the Sacred Heart”, a treasured booklet I refer to often, states: “Helped by adults and peers to be truthful and honest with yourself, you will grow in self-confidence, by dealing realistically with your gifts and limitations.”
Nova Scotians, native and adopted, try to go beyond normal limitations. We tough things out, go the extra mile, forge on, stretch ourselves, consider ourselves unworthy of pampering, and pride ourselves on stoic inner strength. Admirable as these cultural qualities are, it is important to recognize we are human, and need to take a break from the 110% pace of our busy and productive routines.
“Life at the Sacred Heart” encourages us to: “discover your particular gifts, and develop your unique potential...the gifts you have received, give as a gift.” Being stressed and tired makes this difficult. Rest and renewal give us space to reflect on our gifts and our humanness. March Break is an invitation to discover new aspects of ourselves, and to develop qualities beyond the classroom.
Conversations during dismissal on March 8 were enlightening. The two-week break gives time for developing chess strategies, experiencing other countries, and advancing skills in skating or skiing. One parent hopes to walk 5k at the gym to further his recover from surgery. Several students will spend time with grandparents in warmer climates, while others plan to sleep, exercise, and help people here in Halifax. My Break began with a 101st birthday celebration! During these two weeks, I’ll travel to Chicago to fulfill duties as a member of the Board of Trustees for our Sacred Heart School on Sheridan Road. While in the States, I’ll visit family and friends. Along with most Canadians, I value travel to learn about other cultures, practice other languages, think differently, make history come alive, and to refresh my soul.
March Break and the Lenten season coexist. They duel only if we fail to see that each is a call to be in right relationship with our God, our human and limited selves, and right relationships with others. Do we need to “give up” stoicism, jealousies, judgments, and impossible standards? Maybe we need to practice love, acceptance, gratitude, and giving our time and gifts to others. Can we let go of dualisms and comparisons in favour of God’s unconditional love and wholeness?
God’s season of Love is not a two-week respite, nor a six-week path to worthiness. God’s love is our hope and begs us to be authentic about own our gifts and limitations - over March Break, throughout the Lenten season, and long after both have ended!