Starting School in the Boat

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in You." - Psalm 56:3

Who knew when we left school on March 13th that it would be almost six months before we could be together again? 

The year 2020 has certainly thrown us some curve balls.  So much has changed. Almost everything we do is now done differently -- the way we work, grocery shop, get haircuts, attend church services, travel, go to school, and interact with each other.  

On a recent Sunday at Mass, we heard the story of Jesus walking on water to the frightened disciples who were in a boat being tossed about by a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Peter, who had a tendency toward boldness and rashness,  called out to Jesus, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus replied, “Come.”

An experienced fisherman, fully aware of the dangers of a stormy sea, and the buoyancy properties that make it impossible for human beings to walk on water, Peter literally stepped out in faith ...and walked on the water.  

It strikes me that the boat is an apt metaphor for the year 2020.  I’m pretty sure most of us can relate to the fear of being in that small boat buffeted by storms -- literal and figurative.  We are living in a time of unprecedented upheaval and uncertainty, and it can leave us feeling unsettled and fearful. But, despair is not the domain of the Christian soul. 

In the midst of the unpredictability, Christians must still have hope.  Scripture tells us that “all things work together for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28).  Every obstacle is an opportunity for us to draw closer to God, to find His will for us even in adversity, and to trust that He keeps us in the palm of His hand.  These difficult months have opened up circumstances for our own growth.  The quiet of quarantine has provided us with occasion to deepen our prayer life, reconnect in a deeper way with family members, enjoy more outdoor time, try new hobbies, develop a broader perspective, and reorder our priorities.  

Excitement is building here at Mount Royal Academy as we finalize plans to open school and re-engage in learning. Our teachers are looking forward to seeing the students again.  We have missed their laughter, their joy, and their eager faces.  Providing a degree of normalcy for them in a familiar school setting will soothe our collective souls. 

Unfortunately, we must say good-bye to our dear Dr. Sansone, who has been an invaluable asset to this school. She and her husband are leaving us for a wonderful opportunity God has provided for them.  As sad as it makes me to see her go, I am confident that God has placed her and her husband on this path and will sustain and bless them in this new circumstance.  

As I step into her role, I hold tight to the knowledge that God equips the called. I am extremely humbled and grateful to be able to serve Mount Royal Academy, its students, families, staff, and wider community, in this capacity.  

The experience of 2020 has changed us, whether we recognize it or not.  As we prepare to gather together again, may we bring renewed appreciation for the gift of community, gratitude for the people and blessings in our lives, and joy in knowing that we are the precious children of a good God--a God who stands in the storm holding out his hand to us, beckoning us to come to Him, waiting to perform miracles...if we only have the courage to step out of the boat.

- Mrs. Lisa Sweet, Academic Dean