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posted Jan 25, 2010, 9:32 AM by Dan Dunbar
I awoke this morning to the howls and whistles of the wind outside my windows and the staccato splatter of rain being driven onto the shingles and panes of my little home. How I longed to roll over and pull the blankets over my head and sleep at least until there was some glimmer of daylight! But I dutifully tore myself away from the warm sheets, stuffed my feet into my slippers, and shuffled out to the kitchen to start my day with a Aciphex pill and a multi-vitamin, as usual, to keep my body running semi-regularly.

My Sentra was buffeted sideways by strong gusts as I motored down Route 40 to work. When I turned left onto the roadway leading to the parking lot entrance near the gymnasium, I spied Gary Yates, some sort of tool in hand, cleaning up trash from the edge of the property in the dark. I prayed that God would bless his day. No sooner were the words out of my mouth when I spotted Christiane Beinroth traversing the parking lot, teaching materials in tow, so I entered the elementary building and shut off the alarm to save her some time and effort. It was maybe 6:45 a.m. and the faithful were already rolling in.

In my office I prepared for the week, printing out the Verse of the Week (Letter M, this week: My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. ~ Psalm 121:2), finding the cartoon and the verse of the day for the Faculty Lounge, preparing the coffee maker to brew and the electric kettle to boil, and taking down all of last week's notices to prepare for this week's editions. Paula Lange called to say that Daphnie Selph was without power and that part of a tree had fallen and damaged her home and garage, so she would be delayed in arrival, if she could make it in at all. Needless to say, Daphnie and Tony were on our hearts this morning as we met and prayed as a staff.

On the sidewalk, I discovered, with Amy Turk's help, that pieces of our overhang near the office entrance were being ripped down by the high winds. Mike Veader and I worked the elementary doors to keep them from being blown of their hinges as students arrived. Isabelle Morales screamed, "I can't see!" and managed to clear the tresses blown onto her face enough to maneuver to the lower elementary door into the calm of the hallway. We laughed.

Once school got underway, Nathan McFarland waged a mighty battle with our office photocopier on behalf of the staff who sought in vain to find one machine that would produce double-sided, stapled copies for their classes. At one point, I thought he would dismember the stubbornly malfunctioning equipment with his bare hands, but he must have heard from God and decided to grant it mercy. Later, he found a picture of the incomparable Peter Wildes puffing away on the baritone during a past concert. The expression on Peter's face is priceless and makes one laugh or at least smile. Jen and Nate laughed and let some of the Monday mania out of their systems.

I ate lunch in the cafeteria today with the first grade boys. They invited me to sit at their table since last Friday I had sat with the first grade girls at their table, and in the interest of fairness and equal time, I moved to the chair they had appointed for me. There is a big difference between eating lunch with first grade boys and girls. The girls plied me with pieces of cookies and brownies and chips and other lunchtime delicacies as they chattered away about what a world without boys would be like (they said I could be in that world though, and Emma Fenner decided her father and her Poppy could be included too). The boys, on the other hand, talked about more serious things, like what a spork was and what they did and did not like in their lunches as they made more mess than the girls did and kept an eye on Coach Lynch, wondering when he would dismiss them to recess and where it would be. 

Now it is afternoon and I have reassured Mrs. Lange once again that she is an invaluable member of our school family and that I will not be firing her any time soon, if I can help it. She is an amazing lady with an eye for detail and her discernment is acute; she fulfills many roles here at GGCA and we depend on her to keep us sharp. The school up the street may have Mother Mary Lange, but we have Mother Paula Lange, and we think that is infinitely better.

So where is this all going? Well, I thought I would just take a few moments to give you some insight to a Monday morning here at GGCA. Gray clouds are scudding across the sky right now, and Pastor Hadley is in our lobby watching them with some other folks who are here dealing with post-recess injuries that require ice and phone calls home to concerned mommies. People are smiling. I am happy because we have two new students who have started school today - Kevin and Alex Iten. They seem like great additions to our eighth and tenth grades, respectively, and I am hoping that they make friends and become part of the warp and woof, the fabric of our school body. 

We all have our hopes for our sons and daughters, our students, and we have no idea what a day holds for them when they walk out the door and into the school. We believe that God will be faithful to His promises and watch over them while they are out of our sight, and that they will grow up to know how to walk with Him and make godly decisions when nobody is around checking up on them. What holds us when all us fails? Love. God's love. And in the end of it all today, that is what I am sensing here in our school. It's here. The love of God. In the smallest details of our day. Wherever I have been in my journeys throughout the school today, I have encountered that love, though, like Jacob, I can in hindsight say, "The LORD (love) was in this place and I knew it not." What a school we have. God is here. Love is here. I just needed to rub the sleepiness out of my Monday eyes to see it.