Thoughts on Loss
I scroll through the social media posts, past the updates on the Coronavirus, past the ever-lurking advertisements that seep into my feed. I am bored with this online stuff. But then I see them, they catch my eye.
Take another look Carol, don’t let this one by. This one, you have to comment on this one.
The first photo is a Roman Catholic Priest, fully vested, standing in the door of his church, holding the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, housed in the center of the large gold monstrance. He raises the monstrance as a blessing to people slowly driving their cars, windows down through the parking lot. His face expresses what he may not want the parishioners to see: his heart, broken and bleeding for his parish, just as Jesus bleeds, still on hanging on the cross in the sanctuary through the doors behind the priest.
The next picture is of a broken heart. A teaching assistant posts she is very sad. She cannot interact with her students. The future of her job is uncertain. A teacher responds to this post expressing her own grief. I read them both and feel sadness. Yet it’s a different grief, more like a good friend moving away than the finality of a loved one’s death. All educators should feel a sense of relief that their students are okay, loved, still alive. But these educators feel responsibility. Their vocation is to oversee learning with specific techniques, data-driven decisions, and evidence-based practices. Their passion for teaching is supported by encouragement, smiles, kind words, hugs, pats on the back.
It is this passion that has broken the hearts of many educators.
Parkinson’s Disease author, blogger and advocate Heather Kennedy used this term in a recent podcast “Hearts broken open”.
I had not thought about a heart being broken open, but it illustrates what I see around me and hope for our future.
Hearts are broken because everything in the world has suddenly changed. The familiar freedoms, advantages, lifestyles we have experienced are gone. We as parents, teachers, all of society actually, want so much to hold on to the way we have always done it. We can’t. With hearts broken open, the old ways can escape. We must let them out, even help them. We take our brooms and sweep out the cobwebs in the corners where the old ways gathered. We enter the chambers of belief and throw open the window to let the glorious light of a new time shine in, illuminating what we have held as true most of our lives. Things will never be the same, in education, in our churches, in our homes or in our world.
Some will celebrate. Others will grieve. There is no right or wrong. But as Heather Kennedy concluded her podcast, she said:
The most important thing to consider right now is to be kind. Be kind to yourself. Change is very hard. And be kind to others…
…And I add: you don’t know they have cleaned out of their heart, broken, open.