Spring Break 2022
During the low ebb of the pandemic, I found myself repeatedly saying, “everybody just needs a change of scenery.” I hope that Spring Break 2022 will be a small help in restoring some of our collective energy and optimism as so many of our fellow Illinoisans travel to warmer climes. In particular, I pray that the following four virtues are experienced and embraced by our fellow travelers:
Beauty: Let’s face it, Illinois is not the most beautiful place in March. Though there’s now a hint of green in the grass and the first stems have bravely periscoped through the thawing earth, it’s not quite spring yet. However, imagine the childlike joy of waking up in Florida after falling asleep in Tennessee while mom and dad drove through the night. The awe of ubiquitous greenery, palm trees, and the life-giving angle of the tropical sun. So beautiful!
Variety: As important as good habits and regular routines are, it’s also a joy to hit pause from time to time. To stay up late and sleep in. To eat at strange hours, or even all hours. To talk and play with different friends and family members. Spring Break can break us out of our ruts and open our eyes a little wider with gratitude. We can eat at Stuckey's. Get groceries at the Piggly Wiggly. Enjoy the slower, drawled-out hospitality of some of our southern states.
Or, if the trip is even further south, speak some Spanish and put those language classes to good use.
Togetherness: Spring Break can be hard for introverts. It forces us in close quarters (four to a hotel room!) and can put us around our fellow travelers for days on end. However, this may be the perfect antidote for helping us recover from the isolation and loneliness of the pandemic era. Until recently, pretty much no human being had the luxury of a regular private room, much less algorithms that customized a world wide web to their personal taste. Spring Break can remind us how to be flexible, accommodating, I-can-do-this-for-the-sake-of-others kind of people. However, if you have a meltdown, give yourself some grace!
A Real Education: My favorite thing about Spring Break as a kid is that I got a view into my parents’ lives and those of other adult friends that I was normally shielded from. Spring Break forced us into situations where what’s really important got revealed. For example, one time I ended up driving a rental car 20-miles down an Alabama highway at age 15—ordered to do so by my dad and uncle because of extraordinary, emergency circumstances. I learned that there really are times to break the rules.
Speaking of a Spring Break, I can’t help but observe that God himself took a cosmic “break” from his eternal routine to walk the shores of the Sea of Galilee and travel the palm-lined roads of Jerusalem to give his beloved children a real education about what’s what. Soon, Spring Break will yield to Holy Week and it will be time to wonder anew at the ultimate beauty: Jesus of Nazareth in word and deed. May God renew your energies and attitudes, wherever you are this week, so you are truly present for the important days ahead.