The university where I teach got an unexpected extra week added on to our Spring Break this year, courtesy of a blown power line that knocked out power to the entire campus for the past several days. Technically we still have class online this week but don’t have the ability to meet on campus (at least, the ability to meet with lights, A/C, and PowerPoint slides).
Spring Break and unexpected job vacations all provide contrasts between the everyday status quo routine and a brief period of respite. I got to stay home this week, didn’t have to dress up beyond shorts and a t-shirt, and had full-time access to our pantry’s Hershey Kiss supply. So what filled my days this week? Lounging around? Wife and kids fanning me with palm fronds and feeding me grapes?
Not so much. As it so often happens, I did have a little more recreation this week but spent much of it doing chores around the house and yard. This week was not so much a reprieve from responsibility, but a refocus on other responsibilities. We may get vacations from work, but we never get vacations from doing our duty.
Similarly, Lent is seen as forty days of drudgery, before and after which we are free to indulge our desires. Instead of a brief vacation interrupting the normal hard days of work, Lent is a brief period of hard work interrupting the normal days of ease. In the same way that I’m still a husband and father with responsibilities whether it’s Spring Break or not, I’m still a Christian with responsibilities to God and neighbor whether it’s Lent or not. Spring Break gives us an opportunity to recharge and refocus; Lent provides the same opportunity in our spiritual lives.
Happy Palm Sunday and Holy Week to all our wonderful T&C readers!