On Tuesday afternoon this past week, I was sitting in my office looking out the window as dark clouds rolled in, the wind kicked up, and rain came down in a flash. It reminded me of the scene from the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy was caught up in the tornado before she ended up in Oz. A few days ago, our daughter and son-in-law moved into their new home, and my wife helped them. She left their home after dark and got a bit lost driving home. She tried calling me, but I did not have my phone in the same room with me and did not hear her calls, as I silenced the phone earlier in the day and forgot to turn on the ring tone.
Changes in our lives can disorient us, making us feel lost sometimes, especially if they interfere with routines that we have adopted for years. When significant changes occur, it feels like a violent storm interrupting our plans, making us pause, waiting to see what the storm’s aftermath presents to us.
In a few weeks we are about to move into our townhome, downsizing from our larger family home of twenty-one years. It has been a long process of sorting through things, deciding what we should keep, asking our children what they would like to have, and what things to give away. In our situation, our house sold quickly and our new house was not ready, so many of our items were packed away for several months while we experienced apartment living. Now, as we prepare to move, we realize that so much of what we boxed and stored we forget we had, making us think, “Do we really need all of this stuff?” We experienced a kind of storm that did not involve wind or rain, but one that interrupted our routines and made us stop and consider what we were doing and what we had accumulated.
I suppose it is a part of growing older when you realize that you have enough, and the one thing that gives you the most joy is love - love for your children, your family, your friends, and your community. It is that love that inspires us to support one another no matter what consequences the storms in life may bring.
As we end the month of October with the popular celebration of Halloween, let’s not forget that it is All Hallow’s Eve - the day before we celebrate the Feast of All Saints, and it is followed by the Feast of All Souls. This festival of feasts, celebrating life through death, reminds us of the transformational power of our faith. We will all be changed, moving from earthly to spiritual lives. Depending on the theology we learned and impressions that we have developed over the years, I am sure that our ideas of life after death are varied, though we all might agree that it will be different from our current experience. I recall my father telling me that my grandmother, who was born in Italy, and arrived in the United States shortly after the turn of the 20th century, used to say prayers through the night of All Saints Day into All Souls Day, lighting votive candles in the house in memory of all of her family members who died.
So, as we live our days, filled with change, disruption, and potential uncertainty, let us consider the challenges and interruptions as temporary, things that we have to manage. If we look to the lives of the saints as examples, we realize that they were filled with love for God and for others, and that gave them the strength and courage to persevere through all their challenges in this life.
The lyrics of Rodgers and Hammerstein song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the musical, “Carousel,” express beautifully the hope and promise of our faith:
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of a storm
There's a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone.
As we gather together in this season of Thanksgiving with friends and family, may we all appreciate the bonds of love and friendship, realizing how powerful these relationships are in weathering the storms of life and enjoying the days of golden skies.
Blessings at this special time of remembrance and thanksgiving!
Michael A. Marinelli, Ed.D. ‘76
Head of School