The School of Life

“School’s out for summer!” Congratulations to the class of 2021, and to all who made it through this crazy school year!

The end of every school year is usually a time of celebration. But this year brings an even bigger exhale for so many families who are especially relieved to finally get this year behind them. It’s been a difficult season, for sure, with the uncertainties and limitations brought on by the Covid pandemic. From social distancing to mask mandates to virtual learning–to kids being at home for extended periods–there have been many challenges. And that goes for students, parents, and teachers too–including those who teach in public and private schools, as well as homeschool moms and dads. Thanks for hanging in there, and enduring to the end.

I heard a story about a kindergarten teacher whose students brought presents for her on the last day of the school year. First, the local florist’s son handed the teacher a gift. She shook it, held it up, and said with a smile, “I bet it’s some flowers!” “That’s right!” shouted the little boy.

Then the candy store owner’s daughter handed the teacher a gift. She held it up, shook it, and said, “I bet I know what it is! It’s a box of candy!” “That’s right!” shouted the little girl.

The next gift was from the liquor store owner’s son. The teacher held it up and saw that it was leaking. She touched a drop with her finger and tasted it. “Is it wine?” she asked. “No,” the boy answered. The teacher touched another drop to her tongue. “Is it champagne?” she asked. “No,” the boy answered.

“What is it?” she said.

“A puppy!”

I know this year has been one full of surprises. We entered it in the fall not knowing even if we would finish the year, and sometimes it seemed like the only constant was change. But school is about learning, and there are certainly some educational opportunities that come, on the fly, when things don’t always go the way we would have planned or hoped. In school, we call them “tests,” but that is also what we encounter in the experiences of life. For learning to live and function as responsible citizens often means times of testing that never make it into a teaching plan. And in that light, the school year that is behind us has provided some great practical life lessons for coping in difficult times for students and teachers alike.

But you don’t have to be a K-12 student to learn in the school of life. And I hope and pray that in the years ahead, when all of us look back on 2020-21, we will see some wonderful learning experiences that developed our character and taught us patience, endurance, consideration, compassion and a new level of trust in God. “Because,” as the apostle James wrote, “you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:3-4)

I am sure grateful that we have made it through this school year, and that the Lord protected us so faithfully through a worldwide pandemic. My prayer is that we will be better because we did it. That’s what getting an education is all about, and really, when we see it that way, school is never out.

Have a blessed weekend. I hope to see you Sunday.

–Pastor Ken