At the first Religious Studies department meeting of the year, the chair did just this as he asked us to share our name, the subject we teach, how long we have worked at St. Francis High School, and what has been our saving in the time of COVID.
Saving grace. Everyone has one. At least that has been my prayer for the past four months. As someone who has been able to golf—my saving grace—without much restriction during this quarantine, I have thought how different my life would be without it.
I do not take this great game for granted or the opportunity to be outside, to play and compete with friends and others regularly. Rather I have only thought more about others' and what they love doing during these challenging times. Today's sharing gave me some answers.
Several people mentioned family and their spouse. This made every one of us smile. A mom of young children admitted her Disney+ subscription was a God-send. This made us smile too, especially when a colleague admitted to the same thing, adding "I know exactly how she feels, and I have a teenager." But the majority of my colleagues named a physical activity: biking, yoga, lifting weights, hiking, walking, running, fishing and sports like softball and golf. All of that made me smile, big time.
These responses featured such varied exercises I could not help but pause and consider the gift of sport. Sports and exercise—play as physical activity—is also called "recreation" because in the doing we recreate. We make something again.....something new. Perhaps it is a shot you take in golf you've never hit before (different club, new place on the course, etc) . Maybe it is a shift in mindset thanks to yoga. We need rebirth and regeneration. Thank you recreation. And, an unintended outcome of beginning our meeting this way is that the personal sharing became a prayer.
To call something or someone a saving grace is actually redundant. Grace, in its very nature is salvific. Grace is God's free gift to us. No strings attached!! With God's grace, we become more like God—which is to say we become holy and loving. With grace we can be a light to others. Thus our saving grace—or really the grace we readily named and shared today—ought to be seen as that gift from God. Those people, those physical activities can help us to become our very best selves—the person God created us to be. So recreate. Make time each day to avail yourself to that saving grace and when you do, take a moment to offer thanks to the Creator for the gift.
As an added bonus, this topic got me thinking about redundancies in Sports and Spirituality. In other words, think of how we describe something or someone. The adjective we use to describe said person or place is not necessary....for it is usually implied or understood. Redundancies can run the risk of falling into traps of insensitivity and stereotyping, but at its best redundancies can help us laugh at ourselves and our humanity. Give it some thought. I think it's fun. Here's my list.....I encourage you to add your own
- tall NBA player
- fast sprinter
- witty Irishman
- loyal Domer (c'mon....had to!)
- crazy tight end (football)
- Saint Mary
- quick short stop
- angry Eagles fan
- what else?!