A Word From the Head
January 22, 2014
Mr. Rod Gilbert, Head of School
Seeing Something New in Something Old for the First Time
On the first of January I grabbed my 20-year old paperback copy of Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God. The inside tag says “From the Library of Rod Gilbert.” What is humorous about that tag is that I had 30 books in my 'library' at the time.
Lawrence's book is one that finds me every few years, kind of like how Tolkien’s ring 'picks' someone. I read sentences in this book that I swear I have never seen before. It is as if Lawrence rewrote some paragraphs magically, and now I am seeing the words as a man that has matured into his 40’s. Has that ever happened to you? I’m sure you can easily relate.
This surprising human phenomenon occurs all the time. One Sunday when my daughter Katie was four years old, she declared something from the backseat of our Toyota Corolla as we drove home from church. As we put the noodle art of Noah’s ark in the glove compartment with the old juice boxes and the 'artwork' from previous weeks, she proudly said, “I learned a new word today in Sunday School.” “Really?”, we inquired. “What is your new word?”
“Obey. My new word is obey. I’ve never heard it before.”
Friends, can you imagine the amusement we were feeling as parents over that statement?
“Oh, really, that is your new word?”
“Yes,” she said, with beaming pride, “And, now that I know what it is, I am going to start doing it.” You could feel the sense of humble holiness coming from the back seat.
“So, you’ve never heard that word before?”
“Nope. But I like it.”
So goes the learning curve in our human hearts. Katie learned a new word that day, and we were glad that someone had finally told her that important verb – OBEY.
Just like Katie, the sentences from my book appeared as though they were not there the last time I picked up Lawrence’s classic devotional. My heart’s garden needing tilling in a slightly different direction and in a slightly new way. And, at just the right moment, the Spirit pushed my hands toward those pages.
Sometimes we learn by direct teachings, and sometimes indirectly. Don’t give up as you mentor people toward and into the “light of the glory of the knowledge of Christ” (to use a phrase from 2 Corinthians 4). Whether it be lifestyle choices, sentence writing, or offensive formations in basketball – these are all spiritual lessons in God’s world. Such teachings take time, and over time, pray your children will have Aha! moments that bring old lessons to new light.