One year ago, March 14, 2020, we learned that our schools would be closed due to the spread of COVID-19. An initial two-week closure period turned into months as our schools remained closed for the remainder of the school year.
On Friday during an interview with CTV News I was asked about the past year. I described it as a marathon and with vaccine distribution ramping up, the finish line is in sight. As I shared with Nick Paparella, a fellow marathon runner, right now we are at the 30 Km mark (of a 42.2 Km marathon). We know that it is at this point in the marathon where fatigue begins to set in and it is here where mental toughness and resolve become more important than ever. It is also at this point in the race where you remind yourself that you have come too far to give up. Rob de Castella (former world champion Marathon runner) said it best “The marathon is about being in contention over the last 10K.” As fatigue is setting in on our COVID marathon, it all about being in contention (and following public health advice), these next few months.
While COVID feels like a marathon, Lent is feeling more like a sprint with the season passing by so very quickly. I share the following reflection from Fr. Jim Mockler.
“At the halfway point of Lent, it is beneficial to review our progress. We reflect on the traditional practices of prayer, fasting and sharing what we have with those in need. We examine how they affect our day-to-day life. We look to see if creating more time for prayer has become a daily practice of friendship with God, if giving to those in need is helping us to get rid of clutter, and if sharing what we possess, is done not to be praised as generous, but to imitate God’s generosity to us, if our fasting and voluntary self-denial has increased our appetite for God.
Every year on Ash Wednesday, we commit ourselves to building our lives on those three forms of love so that we may grow in being all God is calling us to be. While Lent is always a predictable season, this year we are experiencing it during a pandemic. Wednesday was the first anniversary of it being declared by the World Health Organization.
Reflecting on the months past and listening to people who have answered the following questions – from a recent retreat - even before hearing them has stretched us to become more aware of God’s presence in unexpected ways.
- What has happened on our journey during the time of pandemic?
- Are we letting God be present to us in ways different than before?
- Who has walked beside us?
- What were/are our fears?
- What did we discover?
- What gave us joy and hope?
- If we were to tell a friend about our experience, what would we want them to know?
We have learned God will always be with us in the darkness and because of that will bring us into the light.”