For the Living of These Days—A Word from Carol Harston

“When is the school year over?” was the first question out of his mouth on Monday morning. Here’s the harsh truth: we are only five days into school. “May,” I answered. He pulled his comforter over his head with a loud groan.

What happens when the ground doesn’t feel holy? What does holy even feel like?

I often assume Holy Ground to feel nourishing and peaceful. I remember experiences when the sacred has come to right my jumbled mess of a mind, strengthened my weak arms, and breathed life into my weary lungs.

Sunday afternoon, as I contemplated another week of online school, I didn’t feel nourished or at peace. I threw a pity party instead and laid on the couch. By Monday morning, I drove into work with a tender heart and a lump in my throat. The boys had begun a new week with a new school helper (Highland’s own Elizabeth Gribbins!) who will help them move through their online school days while I’m at the office. Elizabeth will do a fantastic job with them, but that reality can’t erase the experience of wishing for the comfort of Mom’s presence during this challenging season.

I tried to hold the tenderness of the moment with intentionality and permission. I exerted all the heart-energy I had to stop the tenderness from turning to anxiety or worry. I allowed the sensitivity, vulnerability, and fragility I felt to take up some space within me. By the time I got settled at my desk, I had a low-simmering prayer that marinated within – prayer that God be with them (and me!), no matter whether it felt holy or not.

What if Holy Ground is often known most after we’ve experienced it? We remember the peace but forget the pain into which it came. Maybe Holy Ground always begins with our minds are jumbled, our arms weak, and our lungs weary.

Wherever you stand today, may you hold out hope that the ground might be holy… even when it doesn’t feel that way. Today’s miracle will likely be less dramatic than you expect. Few of us know what Greater Story we’re participating in until much later. But it will be a miracle nonetheless as you survive today what felt unsurvivable yesterday.

To all the students, parents, teachers, and administrators walking this journey of online learning: know that our family is with you as we journey in search of Holy Ground. I hold you all in my tender heart as we live these days.