The choir room was buoyant with the usual pre-class maelstrom of activity. I was singlehandedly rolling the grand piano into position (far be it from any BOYS in the room to assist with the task!), when Bear (aka. Josh) came up to me and, quite casually and loudly, said, “So…are we doing pot on Thursday?”
Ah, the potential for disaster those words carried! I saw heads snapping around–some bearing expressions of outrage and others, more suspiciously, bearing expressions of genuine interest! It’s time for a confession: yes, I do indeed hold pot parties at my house. But before you grab your laptops and start writing nasty emails to my mission, my school or my “mommy,” it might be helpful for you to understand that “pot” actually stands for P.O.T. And the latter stands for “Phiphi’s On Thursdays.” It’s a tradition that began last year with a different group of seniors, and one that lives on as possibly the most rewarding part of my week. Every Thursday evening, a gaggle of students turns up at my door for an evening of eating and chatting. The rules are simple:
- you don’t leave muddy footprints on my ceilings (this a result of last year’s pot-vandalism!)
- you don’t break any cupboards (again, last year’s group is to blame)
- you come with an empty stomach, a selection of topics to discuss, and the desire to simply have fun in this new home away from home
There’s really only one way of expressing the way I feel about these evenings and about the students who populate them: I love them–even if they do require a lot of cooking! (But what good is a get-together that doesn’t involve French cuisine and succulent desserts?) I know that some of you who read this blog have never visited BFA or met any of its students, so you’ll have to take my word for it. They are, hands down, the most fascinating and entertaining and profound and whimsical and intelligent and lovable teenagers I know. And there are times, during our pot parties, when the love wells up so powerfully that it’s all I can do to keep from bursting into embarrassing tears!
Puddles (Morgan) and Dances with Ants in her Pants (Autumn).
After a decadent dinner, last Thursday’s group sat around the living room sipping tea and talking about spiritual warfare. The devil’s no dummy. He takes his time sizing us up before striking, looking for that one point of vulnerability, that one half-healed emotional scar, that one place where confidence can’t seem to grow, and he targets it mercilessly, ruthlessly, brutally applying unbearable pressure to already painful points of weakness. (Ahem…like that nasty torture scene in the hospital–episode three of the new “24” season! )
I had the privilege of speaking at Blauen dorm last night, and rather that sticking to the standard devotional I’d prepared, I opted to simply tell my life story. As I was meandering down memory’s not-so-glamourous lane, I began to contemplate the places in my mind and heart that might still be weak enough to warrant the devil’s attention. I realized that those life experiences I’d recounted, though they exist in my past, still breathe into my present, and I committed once again to recognizing their legacy and combating their passive power lest they become the target of the devil’s best-aimed ploys.
When was the last time you took stock of your fragile places, your barely healed lesions and your flaw-riddled assumptions? When was the last time you explored your scars and negated their command over your thoughts and feelings? When was the last time you stood up to the devil and, in the name of Jesus, informed him that those tender weaknesses were not his to meddle with? The Bible couldn’t be clearer: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8) Even when our struggles and conflicts appear to exist in the human realm, it is safe and wise to assume that they found their inception in the unseen world where evil strives to hobble good. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” (Eph. 6:11-12) But we have weapons, among them are the awareness of the battle (spiritual insight), healing through Christ’s comfort, the support of believing friends, the transformative potency of prayer, the powerful name of Jesus and the spiritual armor that is ours each day in Him.
It took a group of teenagers to refocus my spirit on the war between invisible worlds… As sacrilegious as
it may sound: here’s to pot and the spiritual insight it inspires!