I started at St. Albans in C Form, so I’ve been through all the Forms here in the Lower School. And this story starts last year when I was in Form I. It was winter, and it was terrible. It was cold, wet, and bleak, and there was no snow! And so during that winter, I desperately wanted it to be spring. I remembered my springs at St. Albans in the past, and they seemed so nice compared to the present. I remembered in Form A when I had just started lacrosse. I was able to see my progress in refining my stick skills. In Form B, I remembered learning about the Greeks with Mr. Harrison. In Form C my friends and I used to go out to the hallways and have great conversations while working on our rainforest project. Naturally having all these great memories, I was looking forward to my Form I spring, but it never came to pass.
As you all know, Covid hit, and we all had to lock down. This included not being able to have in-person school. And while our teachers did a great job of converting many in person activities into a virtual setting, there were some things that just could not be the same. And these were the things that I missed the most. I missed outside sports, joking at the science table, and having conversations with my classmates about the revolution in history class. So during my long awaited spring, I actually felt a little bit nostalgic for the previous winter, and missed it. I missed the conversations with friends in the hallways, I missed the sports, and I missed the community. All of these things I had in the winter but took them for granted when I was wishing for spring. By the time I realized how fun the winter was, it was spring on Zoom, and winter had vanished.
I remember the moment, that Covid spring, when what I had been missing hit me. I went on a bike ride with my friend Rhys. We stayed distant but it was my first time seeing a school friend since the lock down began. And while Rhys and I were talking about memories from right before Covid hit, it dawned on me. I realized that the winter I had hated at the time was actually very fun. And while I was standing there with the sun shining and flowers budding, I knew that my spring was not going to be as good as the winter.
In the Bible there is a similar story of realization. After Jesus’ death, two disciples wish for a different future and, at the same time, long for what they had in the past. As these disciples walk along a road away from Jerusalem, they are caught up in the past. They talk about Jesus and feel sad about what they’re missing. They are so caught up that they don’t notice what is happening in the present: They don’t see that the stranger beside them is Jesus. This keeps going until Jesus breaks the bread, a familiar activity, and they finally recognize that it is Jesus. But then he vanishes just as they realize it’s him. But realizing it’s him gives them new direction. They stop thinking about the past and return to what's happening now. They immediately return to Jerusalem, not even stopping to stay the night, to see what's going on with the other disciples. This story is not about regret, it's about the disciples’ own resurrection. They move from sadness about the past to joy in the present.
This experience with Covid has led me, like the disciples, to experience life in the moment, just how it is. My story is not about regret either. This pandemic has helped me learn to look around and see what's happening outside of myself. I see everywhere the signs of struggle, and it helps me not to take for granted the things that I have. It causes me to help my neighbors with what they need.
I implore you to do the same this spring. Look around at all the blessings we have—whether it be school, friends, or family—and appreciate them. Enjoy the wave of sun that you feel wash over you when you walk outside, the way it feels playing recess games with your class. Appreciate looking at the bright green, purple, pink,and yellow colors that you see blooming everywhere. Because anything can happen. It could be something as big as Covid, or as small as a change in schedule, but it is best to get the most out of everyday and to enjoy it. So in the future, when we’re looking back, we won’t have any regrets. We will know that we got the most out of the time we have together.