It’s summer. No really, it is. I’ve checked the calendar and compared the date with my welcome screen on my phone. The days, weeks, and months have blended together and I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I’m not 100%.

Since March 13, when St. Thomas sent our students and faculty home for spring break and for the rest of the school year, no one was prepared for what was to come. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and every –ly possible, we were not prepared. We have tried.

Early on it seemed novel and quaint. Some people binged on Netflix, finding a guilty pleasure in learning about the feuds of big cat sanctuary owners. Some made unique playlists to add music and texture to those early weeks. We took time to clear spaces at home to delineate new home office space from home school space from home “home” space. Some added new readings and new prayers to their days, such as daily mass online (I’ve met a number of people this way).

Slowly the novelty wore off. Remote learning lacked the social element of being at school. Teachers, working from home, were challenged as their students of all ages struggled with the new medium and methods for education.

We all struggled and we still struggle. Why? Simply put, we are going through a traumatic experience. None of our past experiences have adequately prepared any of us for the emotional toll that we are paying. Combine the trauma of the pandemic with the more clearly exposed trauma that has long been a real part of our Black community due to the vile sin of racism, and you have an explosive reality that makes clear that suffering affects us physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and every –ly possible! We raged. We raged at the racism, we raged at the violence. We raged at the injustice. We raged at the destruction of property. We raged at everything that seemed out of our control and at people who we felt were easy targets of our rage. We raged at the rage.

And now, at least, for our students and faculty, summer is here and hopefully, with God’s grace we may pray for peace, calm, and healing. But we need more than just a day off, or a quick trip to a beach house, or a long awaited hug from a loved one. We pray for a deeper peace, calm, and healing than we have ever known. When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well in John’s gospel, he was speaking with a person who was dealing with a need for a deeper peace and healing than even she realized. “Anyone who drinks from this well will thirst again. But whoever drinks from the water that I give will never thirst again.” We thirst for equality, we thirst for peace, we thirst for justice, and we will continue to thirst as we seek understanding of the life giving water of Jesus.

As we enter into summer looking for rest and relaxation, let us acknowledge the depth of our hurt and our pain and our struggle today. As we open ourselves up to understanding, let the Light of Christ penetrate deep into the recesses of our souls. Let us be refreshed, renewed, and recreated with the Water of Life that is given by Christ. Let us do all that we can to be a source of life giving water for our loved ones and our world.

May God, the Divine Healer, continue to offer us deep abiding peace, true calm, and complete healing.

President Fr. James Murphy, CSB

Catholic. Basilian. Teaching Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge since 1900.