Back in November, I found myself in an all too familiar spot. However, it was a spot where I hadn’t been in years. But that didn’t matter. Nothing had changed. It was exactly as it had been when this spot was a regular part of my life.
I should explain. A week earlier on a Sunday, a member of my church made an announcement that a high school in the area was performing “To Kill a Mockingbird” that coming weekend. It just so happened that the high school was the one I attended and “To Kill a Mockingbird” was the first assigned book I had to read in my English class as a freshman. Two friends of mine were interested in going, so plans were made and there we were, sitting in the auditorium of Lancaster Mennonite School.
Just by the name, it’s fairly obvious I did not go to public school. I was lucky enough attend Lancaster Mennonite, something I only started to really appreciate when I started college. Sure, I liked my school, but in the moment of it all, it was more for social reasons rather than academic ones.
Because I went to a Christian school, we had this thing called chapel four times a week in that same auditorium I found myself in a few weeks ago.
It hasn’t changed. The same hymnals were in the seat racks, the benches felt the same, and the stage was just as I remembered. As I sat there waiting for the play to start, memories came flooding back. The songs. The crazy yearbook chapels that everyone eagerly anticipated. The um, less than thrilling speakers we sometimes had. The really engaging speakers we had. The first day of every school year when our principal read “The Little Engine That Could”. Mennonites like tradition, okay? All the times my best friend Carolyn (who thankfully sat 3 or 4 people down the row from me) and I had to fight off severe giggling fits, much to the chagrin of our fellow classmates.
Then the play started and I focused on the story. It was very well done, impressive for high schoolers to bring such a heavy story to life. During the intermission I wandered into the lobby and ran into one of my favorite English teachers. Another teacher laid the foundation for my love of writing earlier on in high school, but this particular teacher really encouraged me to keep writing and taught us the skills of writing that put me a few steps ahead in college. This teacher, along with many of my other English teachers, gave me this precious gift. The gift to love words.
I know I’ve written about this before, but I still find it so strange that something I hated so much when I was younger has become one of my passions. Teachers have this incredible power to inspire their students to find passions like that. Being back in the place where it all started made me want to go back to high school and try way harder.
I know regrets are futile. With how stubborn I can be, knowing then what I know now probably wouldn’t have changed anything. And that’s sometime the beauty of life. The changing passions we discover as we grow bring us right where God wants us.
In other recent (i.e today) news, Relient k finally released a new single after 3 years. I wasn’t totally feeling their last album, but this single is promising. It’s called “Look on Up” and it’s a reminder to put down devices and pay attention to the here and now. It goes back to their roots but it still feels refreshing. Maybe Matt Thiessen really did read my letter and took it to heart. I know that’s not likely but I can pretend. Nevertheless I’m really excited to hear the rest of the album, whenever it’s released.