Happy “Spring Break!”
It’s “Spring Break” this week.
That’s in quotes because who would have ever thought Spring Break 2020 would look the way it does.
Normally this week is filled with school trips, family vacations, and time with friends. Brookstone had one school trip scheduled to travel to South Africa, to go on Safari and explore the homeland of our Upper and Middle School Principal, Garry Sullivan. We had another one scheduled to travel to Oxford, England, our annual trip to visit Spencer House. (You can read about that trip in 2019 by clicking here.)
But not this year.
This is a completely different type of Spring Break. There are no beach vacations or school travels. There are not dinners with friends or senior trips. There are no birthday parties or family gatherings. Everything is different this year.
This year there is social distancing and shelter in place. There’s endless news of numbers, of stats, of masks, and hand washing. It’s harder to find toilet paper. The grocery shelves are emptied. We haven’t been able to hug our friends or family in weeks. It can be overwhelming at times.
So this Spring Break is different in every way. But that’s not entirely a bad thing.
The word “break” as a verb means “to separate or cause to separate into pieces as a result of a blow, shock, or strain” or “interrupt (a continuity, sequence, or course).” As a noun, it means, “an interruption of continuity or uniformity” or “a pause in work or during an activity or event.”
There is no doubt that we have suffered a serious break from our norm, a serious departure from our daily lives, and it has been a blow, a shock, and most definitely a strain. We have broken our routines, our patterns, our practices, our schedules. They are broken. Completely.
We have definitively interrupted our the continuity of our lives. We have decisively hit the pause button in our work, our daily activities, and almost all of our events.
Perhaps we are living out the word “break” in a more powerful and true sense of the word than we ever have before.
And maybe that’s a good thing. Because how many of us have said before, a thousand times over, “We’re just all so busy.” Busy, busy, busy. We are all part of this incredibly fast-paced world – this machine that you can hardly step off of even if you want to. We are all so very, very busy.
School, work, appointments, practices, schedules, games, events, commitments, obligations, responsibilities, and that’s just one day’s time. Go to bed and wake up and do it all over again. And again. And again. How many of us have said more times than we can count, I can hardly breathe. We’re just all so busy.
Well, now we have a break.
A real and true break. Whether or not we want it this way. This break is filled with uncertainty and the unknown. There is fear and anxiety. There is loss of life and livelihood. This is not a natural time for any of us. It is unprecedented in every way.
But many of us have used this time to count our blessings. Sometimes I count them out loud just so I don’t cry. We’ve tried to be grateful for all the little things we’ve not had time to enjoy or time to appreciate. And there are so many! What an incredible opportunity we have to stop and relish this pause.
This year, instead of pictures at the beach, I see families playing music together, planting gardens for the first time, going on long walks, playing games, going fishing, putting together puzzles, going on hikes, creating art, and building birdhouses. Families are truly together because they have no choice and nowhere to go.
But isn’t it beautiful?
Isn’t it marvelous to have this time together? I have so enjoyed my family all at home and spending time together in ways that would have never been possible if not for this virus. I have watched my children play hours of pickleball, go for runs together, play basketball and watch movie after movie.
We have heard the birds, seen the sunsets, smelled the flowers, watched the trees turn green, and appreciated the beautiful blue sky.
Which brings me to the word, “spring.” It’s my favorite season of the year.
One definition of spring is “a time or season of growth or development.”
The Encyclopedia Britannica says that during this season, “all plants, including cultivated ones, begin growth anew after the dormancy of winter.”
Could that be happening to us this spring? Could we really be growing in a new way as a result of this pandemic? Could we actually be growing and developing into a people who relish the pause and are ready to say bye-bye to the busy? Are we cultivating a desire to slow down and be grateful for the things that truly do matter? Our families. Our friends. The beauty that surrounds us.
I hope so.
Because there are some things that I long to return to normal. But there are other things that I never want to go back to.
I don’t mind if curbside pick up of all things stays around forever, I really don’t. It’s awesome.
But I never want to say to someone, “We are just so very busy, ” when someone asks me how I am doing. I never want to say that again.
So until things do get back to normal, and they will, thankfully, let’s commit to allowing ourselves a break, a chance to grow, a chance to breathe, a chance to develop new skills, new passions, new hobbies, and to truly be present with the people we love. Let’s slow down enough to enjoy life in a way maybe we never have before and never would have if not for this unprecedented time.
“Happy Spring Break,” Brookstone families! I pray each and every one of you is truly enjoying this break! It’s one for the history books, so here’s to making the most of each and every moment. Blessings to you all!