I remember the tears well. It was like deep, dark rain clouds descending on a sunny day.
A mom, in my office, being told we didn’t have any room at ACS in our Learning Support Services department, meaning we would not be able to enrol her son in grade 9 in the fall. The tears welled up, the pleading began, the stories about how hard it was, her son struggled so much and they needed a school that would see the best in him, help him grow, help him thrive, show him the grace and love of Jesus.
Through the tears she pleaded.
As she left my office I felt the heavy weight of my position as principal, like an invisible backpack full of rocks that I carry around each day. Every day, it seems I am facing an overwhelming number of problems that need solving. Some days I have the solutions to some of the problems; some days I don’t. Yet each day, another list of issues presents itself.
A Ray of Sunshine
I walked over to the LSS department and talked to Mrs. Larsen, hoping she would provide a break through the clouds and let a ray of sunlight shine through. I shared my story about this family and this young man who needed a place in our grade 9 class. Then I asked her if there was any possible way we could make this work.
Suddenly, her eyes perked up and she said, “You know, there is that one boy in our program who has not attended school lately, I wonder if his grandparents are considering withdrawing him from our program. If he were to withdraw, we would have room for this young man.”
We looked up the address, phoned the grandparents, jumped in a car and went to see them at their home down the road. Sure enough, they had decided on another path for their grandchild but had not yet informed the school. We could withdraw their grandchild from our program in grade 9.
Tears of Joy
I prayed that God would meet this new child in this place, in a special way. Then I phoned the mom who just a few hours earlier had been distraught and without hope, and gave her the news. The tears flowed again; I could hear her sobbing on the other end of the phone. “Thank you, thank you,” she said over and over again, “we need your school so much for our family.”
That was six years ago. The student experienced many struggles during his learning at ACS but he made it through. I remember clearly watching him cross the stage at graduation. We taught him video editing, he was a vibrant part of our music program, and he learned to use his gifts and abilities in unique ways. And, he grew in his faith. The last I heard he completed a one-year discipleship program over the ocean. He thrived at ACS and our community was exactly the place he needed to help him flourish.
In Mountain Meadows and Glacial Waters
Every spring, as graduation approaches, I’m thankful to God that He gives us hope. Hope that many students have internalized their faith in Jesus and that this relationship has changed their hearts. Hope that a changed heart will mean they will change the world. Hope that we can solve a few problems in creative ways and watch Him make a difference.
Kim Meeder, in Hope Rising, writes it this way,
Within every heart there exists a special place, a place where the hopes and dreams of the soul soar, unchained by logical or physical entrapments. For some, visiting this unique place is a frivolous waste of time, a mental blowing of dandelion spores.
For others this place becomes the mountain meadow within their soul, the sweeping expanse of wildflowers and fragrant grasses, the streams of pure glacial water, where the spirit runs free. It is a place where the impossible flourishes, where dreams survive the inferno of reality to become the miraculous wonders that draw us forward—it is the place where hope rises.
It is our prayer that ACS is a place where hope rises, where God uses our faithfulness to make the impossible possible.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Often, students are told that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to if they apply themselves and work hard enough. This is far from true and potentially dangerous. Rather, we flourish when we discover our gifts (we all have them!) and work hard to develop them. Gerry’s is another example of the hard work ACS does to help students flourish. God blesses these efforts and his world becomes a better place through them.