Dear Holy Trinity Community,
FIND THE GRACE. That is our theme this school year and we have been challenged to do so. When we started in August we were so grateful to get back in the swing of things and even with the new normal routines we had to have in place, we were happy to be back in-person. We did well, even with all the challenges. The students and teachers truly shined, recently Archbishop Kurtz referred to our teachers and educators as heroes and I would agree! We were and continue to be challenged to FIND THE GRACE. The pandemic is stressful! I keep reading about the importance of finding balance and recently heard a reference to find the balance as it was embodied in the lyrics of the hymn “Amazing Grace;” to survive the pandemic body and soul, we have to feel fear and have our fears relieved. We must work through it! We must use restraint, but find ways to carry on (and do so assuming the best and FINDING THE GRACE). Carry on we shall – one day, hour and minute at a time. God asks us to be present in the moments and to look for the GRACE in each! Truly, stop what we are doing and be mindful of this moment – we will never have it again! Time is precious! Enjoy each moment! It can be hard for sure, but worth the effort! Now due to the concern of rising numbers of Covid-19 cases we have to resume NTI for the few weeks surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas. Wow. It is tough and tiring and it can wear us down. That is when we are even more challenged to FIND THE GRACE.
As we approach Thanksgiving and I look back at the last few months, while there were many challenges, there were many beautiful moments. I truly see so much of God’s grace woven into the past days, weeks and months. Now instead of reflecting on the past, I am trying to live some GRATITUDE and find God’s grace in each moment and the good in every day. While challenging myself to do this, I find the words of Viktor Frankl to be helpful. Frankl was a Jewish psychologist who survived a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. Through this experience, he discovered that humans are not mere beasts/mere beings motivated by instincts but we are much more. Frankl found that humans are ultimately motivated by meaning. We are purpose-driven creatures! Because of this perspective, he lived by a mantra to which he credits his survival: “He who has a WHY to live for can bear almost any HOW.” In other words, if a person still believes his or her life has meaning and purpose (and is aware and conscious of that), then he or she can endure almost any situation. And yet, Frankl said that we must believe that our lives are filled with meaning, especially in the middle of suffering. In fact, Frankl went so far as to say, “In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.” Suffering loses its greatest sting when we hold on to the hope of purpose. This purpose can help us to FIND THE GRACE (and be fully present in this moment while we look)!
They say that purpose leads to action. Living under this new normal has been challenging. I’ve often felt paralyzed, or at least slowed down, by fear and doubt. But remembering Frankl’s words can allow some insight and awareness. If we are aware and reminding ourselves of our WHY, we can deal with almost any HOW! I remind myself to not get bogged down in the struggles but remember the bigger picture – the WHY and HOW and to FIND THE GRACE. So, we all just show up and do our best! Our Faith reminds us that we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). He gives our lives true meaning and purpose, and that gives us a big enough WHY. Yes, we are living challenging times but what good can we find in the midst – we are challenged to do so! In the end, it will be what makes the difference!
So again, we are reminded to look for the beauty in each day, be present to the moment, and stay safe and healthy! My next food for thought or insight (which I share often) is the importance of THANKSGIVING. The stress can lead to negative thoughts and they can threaten to overwhelm our positive mindset. So I challenge all to count your blessings not your troubles – I promise this will help us to FIND THE GRACE (and stay in the moment and be mindful). Please take a few moments to check out these videos to help (they helped me and hope they will help you and your family as well).
GRATITUDE EXPERIMENT. What makes you happy? Have you ever wondered why? Join us as we take an experimental approach on what makes people happier…watch this (it’s worth your time 😊).
Mind Yeti is a library of research-based guided mindfulness sessions that help kids and their adults calm their minds, focus their attention and connect to the world around them.
Check this out as well (this is one of many resources for parents and caregivers as well, and always reach out to me for more if needed):
SUPPORTING PARENTS & CAREGIVERS IN MANAGING THE NEW NORMAL Parent & Caregiver Webinar Series
About this Event
During this uncertain time, parents are struggling to balance work, childcare and self-care while keeping worries — both your children’s and your own — under control. You are not alone. The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA) and Urban Education Institute (UEI) have partnered to organize and offer a virtual series that aims to help parents and caregivers manage the new normal. It is a five part series and the first webinar is coming up, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 from 5:00 to 6:00 PM (CT). The webinar is Balancing Screen-Time with Staying Active and Getting Rest. Please see the program description for more details.
With social distancing and remote learning limiting our ability to connect, be active and physically interact, daily screen time has increased to a high level. Even before the COVID-19 global pandemic, there were questions about the connection with screen time and our health. Join us for this interactive presentation led by the Together for Students Chicago Initiative including our partners at Thrive Chicago with CPS Competency Based Education, and Communities in Schools Chicago learn how to effectively manage this new normal while making time for our health and physical activity. The events is free and open to the public and it will be recorded and shared if you register (as well as posted on the University of Chicago SSA/EUI website). If you have questions about the event email firstname.lastname@example.org
FIND THE GRACE! Thanks for your continued partnership and for being part of our village as we continue to FIND THE GRACE!
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – Proverb
We wish you and your family a blessed November, full of many great moments, lots of thanksgiving and GRACE.
Please continue to reach out if we can be of any assistance in the counseling office to you and your family. Please know of our continued thoughts and prayers.