Go Home and Love Your Family
By Michele Sweetmon, Campus Minister at Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School in Omaha, Nebraska
This time apart has been difficult for everyone. As social creatures, we have an intellectual and emotional need for the stimulation and community that others provide. Mother Teresa instructed us that “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
Students at Gross Catholic are finding that one rainbow in the storm of COVID-19 is time with family. High school students are often so busy or distracted that family-time is pushed to the side. Our students have said, “My family had a Top Chef meets Chopped bake-off, then twisted themselves into pretzels doing yoga moves from a game their aunt sent them. It was a riot to watch! After a stir fry dinner, we enjoyed the delicious dessert creations! Yum!!! But the best part was being together.” “The best part of my quarantine was last getting to spend some more time with my youngest brother, because I am always going so I don’t get to spend much time with him. It doesn’t matter what we are doing, it is great just to be able to spend time with him.” Other students have noted that simplicity has been the gift of this time apart. “My moment of joy during quarantine is taking walks and really breathing in the fresh air.” “I have never really taken the time to notice the colors of Spring. I am grateful that I have taken the time to slow down to pay attention.”
More than anything, we here at Gross Catholic, have learned to trust in God and His timing. The liturgical seasons of Lent and Easter have provided a backdrop of Scripture and prayer which instruct the faithful how to deal with anxiety, fear, and doubt. We, like the early followers, have spent our time in the Upper Room and are learning that “The outcome cannot be controlled. But we believe that good works done with love will bear fruit in God’s time." It is impossible to journey through life by ourselves. We rely on others for strength and support. We share our hopes and fears. We work together to accomplish our goals, we affirm the diverse gifts we see in others, and we help others in need. Through adaptation and change we are learning how to live and love apart, but always together. As we remind Gross Catholic students each year at our House Sorting Ceremony: The way is long; let us go there together. The way is difficult; let us help one another. The way is Christ; Christ is THE WAY.