Monday, August 20, 2007
Back to School
Everything in me wanted to go to school with my three older siblings. Left behind with 'the babies', my mother pacified me, saying I could go when I knew how to tie my shoes. Five years old, it was an ability beyond my reach. I stood on that big white porch, watched them walk away, leaving me with baby brothers and dolls. Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans would have to do for awhile longer, til I could figure out the mechanics of those loopy bows and knots.

Back then, school was something I spent all summer anticipating. Big Chief tablets, new crayons (and I so wanted the box with the sharpener in it, but buying six boxes made that an unnecessary luxury), new pencils, a few new dresses. When school finally started up again, I remember nightly a loaf of bread, and a package of bologna laid out on the kitchen counter; however many sandwiches it made, that was lunch for the six of us - my brothers could eat more than one. Nights were spent studying my spelling words, or writing book reports. I loved it all. When I was young there was so much to learn. Even diagramming sentences fascinated me. Those nouns and verbs written on the chalkboard, with lines shooting off in all directions. Spelling bees, art classes, science projects made from sugar cubes late at night, then carried to school oh so carefully on the school bus, to turn in to the teacher, sure she'd be dazzled by it.

Mrs. Darcy, my fourth grade teacher, made school such fun. I don't remember her face, she was a bit plump, and had blonde hair. I do recall after school she'd lead our class from the building to the buses, just past the merry-go-round, as we sang "We're on the Homework Trail". Bless her heart for caring more about kids than her dignity.

I'm a student at heart. I love to read, study, non-fiction is often my choice. In keeping with that, this past weekend I took a quilting class to sharpen some skills, and learn a new thing or two. As I sat and listened to the instructor, some information sailed right over my head. Later when she addressed it again, it fell into place and I grasped what she was teaching. What I'd missed was critical to understanding the process in it's entirety, to being able to repeat the process later on my own. Taking notes would not have been enough, I had to understand what she was trying to get across. I had to learn, not memorize, the technique.

Then Sunday and church came along, and I sat taking notes during the sermon. As our pastor spoke on Jesus leaving earth, and leaving behind the Holy Spirit, and why this was all a good thing, in fact a better thing, I was struck that Jesus had said - 'it's better that I go so He will come."

I've often thought, wouldn't it be great if Jesus was just here in the flesh, I could reach out and touch him, talk to him, ask him my list of questions, sit at his feet? I realized during the sermon when Jesus was on earth even he was in only one place at a time, even he got weary. Once he left earth, and the Holy Spirit came, he could be with us all the time, everywhere, all at once.

This new realization really hit me. They had him there, in the flesh, we don't. We have faith, and with it comes his presence within us, all the time. When Jesus left an area, they followed after him, wanting to be with him, to hear more. Sometimes Scripture surprises me, something I've read over and over, heard in three point sermons more than once, then my heart takes it in. What struck me next was how, twice in a weekend, new teaching had zoomed right over my head, then came back and I'd grasped it the second (or fiftieth) time around.

Yesterday in Target the aisles were full of frustrated parents and kids purchasing crayons, markers, scissors, etc. Next to that section was the 'back to college' aisle, with bigger purchases, in size and cost. In about a week school buses will pull up, load kids on them, and take them to school. Some will have waited all summer for the day to arrive. Our oldest grandson Caiden, almost 6, is just about ready to start school. He's so eager to learn, just like a little sponge ready for something wet. Others have spent three months dreading school's return. You can put those kids in desks, make them sit there the whole live-long day, but unless they are ready to learn, they won't. Not even with a Mrs. Darcy on board.

Neither will I. A teachable spirit - a recognition of how much I have to learn, a heart eager to take it in, apply it. Then come back for more. It's not about tying loops with laces, but rather a heart condition. Soft, open, ready to learn. A heart like a sponge. A heart like Caiden's.


  posted at 8:03 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

    I have a deep, abiding love for full octane coffee, sewing, knitting, quilting, reading, cooking, gardening, God and my family - not in that order.

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