NOTE: All pictures taken during our first home game (soccer’s finally in season again!) and an afternoon of fun with Bear, Erin, Squirt and Autumn.
BFA’s director, Mr. Shuman, asked me to speak at a meeting that took place this afternoon. The topic? “What BFA means to me.” As I contemplated what I was going to say (and sifted through the volumes of anecdotes and memories in my mind), I noticed the addendum to the request: “in five minutes or less.”
Here’s the problem. When I start to talk about BFA, I get long-winded. So rather than let inspiration be my guide, I went back to something I wrote at about this time last year, when a snot-nosed little brat (ie. a beloved student) asked me “What the heck are you still doing at BFA after 18 years?!” (Enter horrified expression and apalled tone of voice…longevity is clearly not as prized by BFA’s students as it is by BFA’s administration! ) The postscript of the student’s question seemed to be an unspoken, “Why would a perfectly intelligent woman opt to spend 18 years at BFA when there’s world of better-paying opportunities out there for her?”
Well–I took a moment to answer his question, and I borrowed from that answer for the talk I gave this afternoon. Here it is.
I’ll tell you why I’m here. I’m still here because my heart beats earnestly and fiercely for the students of this school.
I’m here because they challenge me and motivate me and fascinate me and move me.
I’m here because my goal is to love them and my purpose is to help them as they navigate this transition from a worldwide childhood to a stateside adulthood.
I’m here because classrooms are venues for healing and lessons are platforms for life changes.
I’m here because this is a place where I can love students who are so much like I was at their age, whose lives have been abundantly blessed and relentlessly tried by their parents’ call to ministry.
I’m here because there is no greater reward than a visible brightening in overcast souls.
Because there is no greater ambition than to see one’s past enhance and benefit the future of others.
Because there is no greater calling than to love those for whom our spirits breathe and yearn and soar and groan and plead and grieve and celebrate.
I am here because there is love in this place–there is kinship, there is growth, there is learning and there is a kind of energy that cannot be reproduced elsewhere.
Because this is a place where God is moving.
He didn’t only bring these students here to get an education–they could get that anywhere. He brought them here for the belonging and revealing and understanding and broadening and healing that can only happen in a community of kindred souls.
He didn’t only bring them here only for English and Science and Math and Fine Arts. He brought them here because He wanted to care for them through us, through staff members whose jobs might be teaching but whose callings achieve Eternal Dividends in those unscripted moments outside of lesson plans.
I am here because I love these students and the potentially world-altering force they represent.
I’m here because Alyssa is the strongest fragile young woman I’ve ever met.
Because Josh has the potential to transform this world one small child at a time!
Because Jay Na has made a commitment and stuck to it for a whole week (yay, Jay Na!).
Because of Erin’s beautiful vulnerability.
Because of Missy’s righteous temerity.
Because of Beth’s honest simplicity.
Because of Austin’s unabashed authenticity.
am here because BFA changed my life all those years ago when I was a student here (back when parents drove their children here in horse-drawn carriages) and is changing the lives of the students who attend here today.
I am here because what happens at BFA, inside and outside of classrooms and dorms, is downright miraculous and redemptive, and to be a small part of it is to be a humble extension of God’s work in the minds we teach and the hearts we touch.
Erin dropped my beautiful rhubarb/strawberry pie…so we served it up in glops instead of slices after we’d scraped it off the kitchen floor!
A picture can’t do this justice–they pre-game ritual is reminiscent of Africa tribes preparing for battle!