There's a lot of different ways to tell a story; different angles and perspectives.
If I'm honest, the view from these eyes of mine gets so easily clouded by the most recent unexpected hurdle that awkwardly pops up. (And I can assure you there are far more unforeseen curveballs than I could have ever imagined when I so blindly said yes to this adventure five years ago.)
Sometimes the best way I know to describe what story I see in UCA is by articulating a 17 minute snippet of our school day. It's 11:49 am, lunch got delivered late, we're down one staff person and of course it's taco salad day - the day there are the most food items to sling on trays. One kid is screaming in the hallway because the pre-lunch hand sanitizer got in her paper cut, another scholar is walking up to me to celebrate the grit he had during writing time, another student accidentally drops their tray all over the lunch floor, and the phone is ringing off the hook. Also, the door bell is ringing. Oh and the alarm is randomly going off.
If I'm honest there are many days where from my view UCA feels held together by toothpicks and rubber bands.
But something that has always been true in this brief but intense season of learning how to guide little people through their days at school is this ---
There is a reason Jesus told his disciples to be more like kids. Grown ups get anxious and preoccupied with adorning their masks -- it's kids who have a way with finding the simple truths and asking bolding for what they want.
A couple of weeks ago after the LONGEST WINTER OF MY LIFE (I'm not exaggerating, can I get an amen?!), we finally got to go outside for recess. I was so relieved to be in a position to feel overwhelmed by the brightness of the sunshine. And before my feet could step down the five steps to the landing that overlooks our playground, I was bombarded by five year olds beaming with pride as their little arms reached up with their offerings: purple weeds.
You would have thought they had found bouquets of money on the ground. Their eyes were beaming in the light of their earthy discovery.
And I was reminded in that moment as I gathered up their treasured weeds, that beauty is indeed in the unexpected, the mundane, the stuff that most people want to plow over or mow away.
That's one story that God has so graciously opened my eyes to (usually in the form of Kindergarten prophets): if you want to see the most magical redemption, don't go to a jewelry store or a perfectly manicured shopping strip -- if you want to feast your eyes on the Yahweh magic sprinkley sparkle stuff, go to the unexpected, go to the margins,
go to the weeds.
They might seem common or insignificant, but we are caught up in a story authored by a divine Father who sent his treasure son to be born in an animal's food bowl.
There's also the story of numbers at UCA. 97 is the percentage of parents who have come to parent teacher conferences over 5 years. 90 is the percentage of scholars at UCA who have finished each school year on or above grade level since 2014.
But the stories that ignite my soul the most are the ones that have to do with watching life come in to hollow eyes. And while this place does feel young and wobbly like a chunky toddler, it is filled with stories of little people who are guiding my soul back to the truth. And for me, that's a story worth fighting for.