Sunday, June 05, 2016

Empty Classroom


It started raining tonight during evening services-no surprise if you have followed Texas weather the past week- but today had been nice so it caught me off guard. Rain in Houston should never catch you off guard. It's like being startled by drama in middle school- you just know it's going to come back. For five minutes or so, several of my fellow congregants and I waited under one of the porches hoping to make a run for our cars. Truthfully, I would have chanced it but I'm in a rental car with leather seats so I used some discretion for once. With no let up in sight, I made the forty-five second walk to my classroom to attempt  a bit of productivity while riding the storm out. (REO) I started on a thank-you note but messed it up to the point of no return and ripped it in two. As I sat there at my desk, it hit me how empty my room was. The carpet had been cleaned and all the student desks pushed to one side. My principals let me keep the bulletin board and my wall with the kids artwork up because prospective student families often stop here on their tour of our facilities, so it remains semi-decorated. But I was struck how lonely it was without the kids. A classroom without students is just four walls and some neat posters with thought provoking sayings displayed for motivation. And that picture of me at the top teaching? It's not really real. It was a shot taken of me several years ago acting like I was instructing but the desks were deserted. I was just preaching to the wind. I had a nice Christmas tie on, though!

On August 11th, I will began my 18th year in Room 258. My first year at WCS was spent in another classroom but I've been here since the fall of 1999. Amazingly, I teach the same two classes I taught my first year at Westbury Christian- only the names of the students have changed. Well, I may have changed a little as well but that's beside the point. And the way my lessons are delivered on the screen with video added in has changed the method but not the message. Funny- I could come closer to tell you who was in my eighth grade classes in 1998 than in 2014. The memories have become a kaleidoscope of traditions and faces and mostly, the word of God. But there needs to be flesh and blood in the seats to make the room come alive.

Did you ever see Field Of Dreams, one of the best baseball movies ever? The ball diamond Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) hewed out of an Iowa corn field was just grass and smooth dirt until the long dead White Sox appeared from baseball purgatory and made it their home. A baseball field needs to be played on like a pool needs swimmers- just doesn't have much purpose otherwise. A classroom is no different; it requires occupants to justify its existence. On August 11th, the kids will come back. Some I know and some I don't but Jesus does. Some will want to hear the Gospel and with some, only their parents will want them to hear the Gospel. It doesn't matter. All of us have a need for a Savior and I have a need to teach. They have a need to hear the Word of God. And that part will never change.

Applicable quote of the day:
The classroom should be an entrance into the world, not an escape from it. 
John Ciardi

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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