Hair Ribbons and Metal LunchBoxes

I am sitting at the old 18th century kitchen prep table I found in an antique store that now serves as my desk in my office at home. The air is muggy and the sky is gray and looking out the multi-paned glass window I notice a yard full of leaves that Sofie, my bumbling Bernese mountain dog is running through, making a crunching noise that is music to my ears. Summer was wonderful. But the promise of autumn is better. I sit quietly enjoying this moment that seems as if time is finally standing still. I sit quietly lost in my thoughts and savoring many memories of this special day, this day known as “back to school.”

I think back to the ribbons my mom used to put in my braids and the fun I had getting to wear my new dresses. (Breaking in my new school shoes wasn’t too much fun!) I can remember the wonderful smell of molasses cookies greeting me as I opened my metal lunch box to get out my snack and my little thermos holding my milk, hopefully it would be chocolate, which I always preferred. And I can remember running home from school eager to tell my mom everything that happened during my day.

I don’t ever recall getting sentimental about this day as I do now and I wonder why that is? Why do I feel the same excitement, the same fear and the same butterflies in my stomach that many children are feeling as well? Why do I have this sudden interest in buying new pens and notebooks? What is it about this day that brings adults, who have been out of school for many years, back to being a child again?

Perhaps it is the sense of new beginnings that this day presents to not just children but to adults as well. Perhaps it is a day in which we can wistfully look back and think about all the years that have gone by and realize that we still can learn something new this day. Just because we aren’t in school doesn’t mean we have stopped learning. As Maya Angelou once wrote, “I learned that I still have a lot to learn.”

Perhaps the first day back to school is our time—we, the adults—to embrace the beautiful truth that children have yet to fully understand. That with God, each day is a new day to learn, to live and to love. Scripture holds that beautiful realization that can restore hope when it whispers to us, “See, I am making all things new.”

As I sit here with memories of hair ribbons, metal lunch boxes, new pencils and notebooks going through my mind, I realize the excitement I am feeling is more about all the possibilities God is presenting me right now with this new school year that has begun today. What is it I want to do? What is it that I want to accomplish? How is it that I can continue growing into the person God wants me to be? As I dream and then plan and then make my schedule for this day of learning, I do it knowing that God holds the ultimate lesson plan in his hands.

Instruct me, Lord, and show me your truths and the path you want me on.

Yes, school is back in session. For all of us, no matter what age we are. Today is the day for us all to realize that no matter how much we think we know, there is still so much more to learn.

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