I love the start of a new school year and all that comes with it!
A shopping cart filled with notebooks, book covers, and sharpies.
The smell of new books.
Lesson plans and imagining how my class will react to the new movie or book or project I discovered.
The first sight of my students faces when they walk through my classroom door.
The sounds of soccer practice drifting through my windows while I work at my desk.
The picnic tables under our tall trees filled with kids doing homework and shouting good-bye as I walk to my car at the end of the day.
In August, our building is strangely empty and lifeless. I avoid it and mostly prepare for the school year from home.
Then September comes and with it our students.
They pour through the doors, crowd the hallways, mess up our carefully organized classrooms, frustrate us, delight us, teach us.
Our building hums with drama, laughter, life.
And even as I lament the too-short, flew-by-too-quickly summer, I know that the school year will pass in much the same way.
And once again our building will be empty . . .
Last week in British literature, I shared with my class an excerpt from The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by Bede. In our reading, the king’s counselor describes life this way.
“The present life of man upon earth, O king, seems to me . . . like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the house wherein you sit at supper in winter, while the fire blazes in the midst, and the hall is warmed, but the wintry storms of rain or snow are raging abroad.
The sparrow . . . is safe from the wintry tempest; but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, passing from winter into winter again.
So this life of man appears for a little while, but of what is to follow or what went before we know nothing at all.”
He’s saying that to him, life is like a bird taking refuge from a storm.
The bird comes out of nowhere, somehow managing to escape the storm. For a time, he is warm and protected in the shelter. All too soon, he leaves and returns to the dangers of the tempest.
It’s a great metaphor, and one that touches on the Three Big Questions:
- Where do we come from?
- Why are we here?
- Where are we going?
Finding the answers to those questions is the stuff life is made of.
But every time I read that metaphor, I think of my students—pouring into our building in the fall, spending a few short months under our tutelage, and flying off again at the end of the year.
Their conditions vary. They may be wounded and disheartened or open and searching or on the verge of blossoming into full bloom. But all find their way to my classroom by the same Hand.
Why are they here? Because God’s purpose for my life is to be used in their lives . . .
To turn their eyes to the One who made them,
To teach and bind up,
To lead them in the way everlasting,
And all to the praise of His Glory.
God has brought you your little flock—whether it be your own children, the women or girls you are mentoring, your co-workers, your Sunday school class, your youth group, your grown up family, or your class—for the same reason.
After they have spent their appointed span with you and fly away, will they have been blessed by your time together? Will they look more like their Savoir? Will they be closer to His heart? Will they be headed down whatever path God has called them to?
All that and more is what I pray for my students. May it be so for all those who take shelter with us!
Let’s look for glimpses of glory today. Blessings, friends!
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