Monday, January 16, 2017

The Long And Winding Road

In Saturday night's entry, I spoke of WCS  commemorating the contributions of Robert O. McCloy by naming our gymnasium, where he laid the foundation of our basketball success, in his honor. It was a glorious afternoon, filled with friends and alumni, food and memories, basketball victories and recognizing the role of Bob McCloy in keeping Westbury Christian School alive when it was going down for the count. I tell my classes that buildings are named after those who fall into one of two groups, fabulously wealthy or dead. Bob McCloy does not fit into either subset although he has, as Jesus put it nicely, treasure laid up in heaven.

I greatly enjoyed myself during my four hours at the celebration. I caught up with Bob's son in law, Robert Sain, who I worked with at basketball camps in Nashville when he was a student assistant for Lipscomb University's legendary Don Meyer.  For at least half an hour, I reminisced with Isaac Apenteng, one of my favorite all-time students whose brother, Joseph, and sister, Victoria, fall into that same category. It was also a joy to spend time with Greg Glenn, who I've known since working at those same Lipscomb camps beginning in 1983. Greg was my contact for moving to Houston nineteen years ago. He and his family now reside in Nashville where he is the head of school for Lipscomb Academy. I was often with the Glenns during our sixteen shared years at WCS and I worked in the mission field with Greg, his wife Loa, and children Amber, Richard, and Cody who also were my students. Small schools are family affairs.

Many former students wanted to speak with Greg who served Westbury Christian as boy's basketball coach, athletic director, math teacher, and ultimately, the head of school. But it was the last one who caught my attention. A gentleman approached Greg as we stood in the reception area. He confided where he was now in terms of business and personal life with some current information about his extended family as well. As he went on, he passionately related to Greg how much WCS had meant to him and how our school had influenced his life. Ever the administrator, Greg encouraged his former pupil to reconnect with WCS and even more, to become involved and tell his story to others who could benefit as much as he did. After he had said his good-byes, Greg told me something that I found fascinating. The former student had not graduated from our school. On the contrary, he had exited on less than ideal terms although Greg was not sure of all the details. And yet, even though he is not technically an alumnus, the man feels a kinship to Westbury Christian in spite of the situation surrounding his departure. My guess is that it took time, maybe quite a bit of time, for that recognition to set in.

As always, we will cover the Parable of the Sower this year in all five of my classes. One point I make is that we are mistaken if we believe we know who fits the description of the thorns, the rocks, the path, or the coveted good soil. Maybe it takes years for the good soil to come out of hibernation. Sometimes when we discuss Jesus' teaching, I will pick one youngster and have them tell me what kind of soil they perceive each classmate to be. Of course, they only say good soil because they don't want to come off as a jerk. But maybe that's a good lesson for all of us. I think the odds would be that the teachers of that student I referenced would have put in him in the negative soil descriptions, but it looks like they may have been wrong. When Jesus sent out 72 missionaries to places He would visit, I think they were getting the soil ready for the seed, which stood for the word of God; plow, water, fertilize. That's when the seed has the best chance to thrive and produce a terrific harvest. And maybe that's what our school did a quarter of a century ago. Thank God we aren't all judged simply on our teenage years. I need to remind myself of that every day as I help prepare the next generation of soil.

Applicable quote of the day:
“When God is ready for you to move, He will make your situation uncomfortable.” 
Germany Kent

God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybookscom

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