Newsletter: March 2021

Online Winter Retreat
I feel like a bird that was about to leave the nest, when suddenly without warning, I was pulled back. The nest is comfortable and I’m grateful for it, but itching to spread my wings, to soar and explore new horizons. To make new friends, to learn how to build my nest and start my own life. My parents don’t understand what it’s like since they already have the life they want and are locked down in that life. I’m not."

This was the essence of my recent conversation with a first-year student whom I (Marybeth) companion. It’s a common feeling among university students whose lives have been interrupted at a time when exploration and social engagement is so important for their development and identity formation. As this student pointed out, these are permanent losses. She will never get to experience her first year like others have. And there’s much uncertainty about what opportunities she will have in the next year. For some students, these losses are compounded because the nest is not comfortable. They’ve been forced back into difficult home situations. In this letter, you read about how Liberty, Hani, Sowmithree, and Rachel are finding community and connection in the midst of separation

Thursday, March 11 marks the one-year anniversary since the declaration of the COVID global pandemic by the World Health Organization. As this date approaches, students are becoming more aware of the heaviness of their losses during this time. We are marking this week by supporting students to reflect and remember, to be together in our challenges and our healing. David Whyte writes that unless we are willing to enter the well of grief, we will never find “in the darkness glimmering, the small round coins, thrown by those who wished for something else.”

We are so very grateful for your support as we journey with students during this challenging time and support them in finding the small round coins of deeper meaning, purpose and spiritual direction. May you too be embraced in love as you walk with your losses during these uncertain times!

— Marybeth and Jeff