an unexpected adventure-going back to school

so excited…this link popped up in my fb feed (ht joel daniel). thought it will be 12 months before it can be fully seen…it will be worth the wait…but on to present things…

it was fun to see my own unexpected adventure today as i spent the entire day in a local middle school with an amazing group of students and their teacher sharing about the present hope tour.

got my name on the board.

i’m in this school once a week connecting with a young man with whom i’m mentoring. i’ve walked these halls many times…but yesterday was the first time to spend time, up front teaching. it was a great day. i was invited in by the 8th grade language arts teacher, ms. osterland. she has a love of books and leverages that with her students. she has a connection with her students that is straightforward and engaging.  i love that that the  back wall in her classroom is  filled completely with books that are well-worn from being read. it was fun to hear several students bringing books back to get new ones to read over the break share their excitement over what they had read.

a reminder to the thread here on my blog about “story”. i couldn’t help but begin my conversation with each class with a pause of reflection on the three young men who have taken their lives in the past 40 days. i asked each class if they knew any of them. it was interesting because in every class almost half raised their hands. but when i clarified and said…how many of you spent time with them…the hands went down. further discussion revealed that most only “knew” because they were friends on facebook…but had never met. so hence maybe the larger issue for another post.
so weaving out of the idea of a story that we are part of…much like the stories in the hundreds of books in the room to my own story of riding a bike 800 miles with a team of incredible individuals to even the idea of doing hard things.
it was good to share the stories from those i came to know on the bike ride…Jason, a husband whose wife Wendy was killed by the tornado and who’s wedding ring pastor aaron brown wore on a necklace during the ride or the story of will norton, a student who had just graduated hours earlier on that fateful day in joplin and was killed while riding home with his dad. it was will’s story that even gained more traction during the day as the teacher received several emails from students who had gone to the computer labs and did research to learn more about will and those students forwarded the links.

at the end of the nine periods, as the teacher and i were debriefing the day, a common thread -no surprise-appeared… and it was the understanding that “story” connects us and yet there is much that comes against us being all that we were created to be.  respecting my context, i didn’t dive too deeply into spiritual issues but yet at the core that is why our stories become frustrated and complicated.  i find these words from john eldredge helpful…

… our lives are not a random series of events; they tell a Story that has meaning. We aren’t in a movie we’ve arrived at twenty minutes late; we are in a Sacred Romance. There really is something wonderful that draws our heart; we are being wooed. But there is also something fearful. We face an enemy with vile intentions. Is anyone in charge? Someone strong and kind who notices us? At some point we have all answered that question “no” and gone on to live in a smaller story. But the answer is “yes”-there is someone strong and kind who notices us. Our Story is written by God, who is more than author, he is the romantic lead in our personal dramas. He created us for himself, and now he is moving heaven and earth to restore us to his side. His wooing seems wild because he seeks to free our heart from the attachments and addictions we’ve chosen, thanks to the Arrows we’ve known.

And we-who are we, really? We are not pond scum, nor are we the lead in the story. We are the Beloved; our hearts are the most important thing about us, and our desire is wild because it is made for a wild God. We are the Beloved, and we are addicted. We’ve either given our heart to other lovers and can’t get out of the relationships, or we’ve tried our best to kill desire (often with the help of others) and live lives of safe, orderly control. Either way, we play into the hands of the one who hates us. Satan is the mortal enemy of God and therefore ours as well, who comes with offers of less-wild lovers, hoping to deceive us in order to destroy our heart and thus prevent our salvation or cripple our sanctification. These are the stage, the characters, and the plot in the broadest possible terms. Where do we go from here? (The Sacred Romance , 147-48)

guessing that “the hobbit” will be a box office smash…because that story reflects our own lives.  can’t wait.