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A Blank Canvas

This week I officially became a senior citizen. I actually said to a person about something not particularly important that it took me more than half a century to learn that and I realized how quickly the days of my life had turned into years that turned into decades that turned into...well, a half a century. As we are planning our new year at The Bridge I was thinking of all the school years before and what a beautiful clean canvas they were to fill with whatever that year might bring. In 1986 when I got my first classroom I remember the wonder of thinking about the possibilities that year might hold. It was in the mountains of Tennessee and the windows in my classroom looked out across the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. It had no air conditioning and every morning that it was hot I would arrive early and go to the cafeteria and get a big metal tray of ice and take it to my room where I would position fans to blow across it to cool the room. I am cranky when I am hot so the wonder for my friends is how all my kids lived through having an incredibly cranky teacher for several weeks of the year. Other years I found my fresh canvas in a small town in North Georgia and in Kansas City and would ultimately find my home right here in Monroe. Most of those years had much more beautiful and bright colors in their palette than not and in May I left each one knowing I truly had the chance to touch lives and be touched by lives as well. In the middle of that was one year where my canvas was dark and gloomy, a year I yearned for home and found it hard to go to work each day. My sweet husband often sent flowers to me at school to cheer me up to the point that one day a sweet little boy asked me if I was very, very sick and when I asked why he asked that he told me the only people he knew who got that many flowers were very very sick. But even that year had its lessons I would carry through my teaching career. When we opened The Bridge in 2013 I found myself staring excitedly at that new blank canvas. There was a holy anticipation about what the year might bring and what the future held. We were so dependent on the providence of God in those first years that those of us who made it our daily home found ourselves excited about impossible situations because we knew that God was about to show off. And suddenly the empty spaces of that canvas would be filled with brightness and light and beauty that cannot be explained outside of knowing that God was the one holding the brush. Each year starts with that blank canvas and I find myself this year standing before the year with that same holy anticipation I experienced at the beginning. There was certainly no predicting the outcome of last year and to some extent, I think we are all still reeling with it. This school year is certainly uncertain. I had a staff member ask me today if we would be making the planning calendars that we have made for the staff in the past and I laughed and said we wouldn’t because every day would simply say “maybe” on it. This year we look forward to having students return who have been gone much too long. We look forward to hearing our kids’ stories and knowing their heartbeat like our own. We look forward to seeing The Artist paint a beautiful picture and filling our canvas from edge-to-edge. Most of all I look forward to the fact that He is in control of it and I am not (something that also took me more than a half-century to learn). And that He cares very much about the lives of those who enter our doors. Stand back and prepare to be wowed. There are great things to behold this year

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