Friday Two Cents: My Community and Traditions


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This week many people celebrated the festival of Ash Wednesday.  For many Christians, it is the beginning of the Lenten celebration leading up to Easter.  Being Maltese, I am Catholic and this is the largest celebration in our calendar.  Yet I have never really liked the whole season.  I understand it and go through the traditional ceremonies but it has never really been a happy time for me. 

I guess because my grand parents died during this time and the whole idea of Jesus dying and suffering makes me feel sad.  I now it is about rebirth and dying for our sins but still I do not like to see people suffer. 

This year I went to Ash Wednesday service for the first time in years.  It was the same as I remember it but the priest said something that made me think.  We came together for the service not just for religious reasons but we are all there because we are a community.  I thought about that and he was right I was there to be part of a community.  Even though Lent is not my favourite time it is a tradition from my culture and it brings my community and me together. 

In recent days I have felt alone and detached from my community.  But upon further reflection it is not just the past week but it has been present for some time.  I work in the public school system and the one thing that I think is missing is this common thread that binds everyone. 

I went to Catholic school mostly because my friends went but after I realized that we all might have come from different backgrounds, but we all had one thing in common.  Our traditions from our beliefs.  That is what is missing working in the public school system.  Because we celebrate all traditions from every culture it has made all the celebrations dull and meaningless, including my own. 

I needed to remember my own traditions because they are a part of me, which makes them special.  Maybe I need to rethink my future in teaching.  I have been trying to upgrade my degree and go to teacher’s college but I was seriously thinking of doing the catholic stream and look for a job in the catholic school board.  With recent events and a reminder of community, I am going to have to truly look at it more closely. 

I never thought that I would miss this sense of community.  I guess always being politically correct and making sure that everyone else’s traditions where respected, I forgot to respect my own.   Hmm, well that stops now.  My traditions are as important as anyone else’s.  After all if I don’t respect my own traditions no one else will.  With my recent revelation it would appear that no one has. 

Therefore I am going to let go of this political correctness that the system is pushing on me and celebrate my traditions proudly. I’m going to make sure that I celebrate my traditions and not let anyone make me feel guilty about doing so.  After all we live in a free society and I have the right and freedom to celebrate my traditions as much as anyone else. 

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