The recognitions are all given. The halls are all empty. The trash cans are all full. And, as I glue the last broken binding on a literature book to store away, it strikes me: What will it be like when I’m gluing the very last binding for the very last time?
I think it will feel strange.
I often joke about retiring, but that’s a blank page that the sovereign God has not written anything on yet that I can see. But, there is something wonderful about ending a school year. Kids and staff are ready to close the book. The Colorado summer sun is warm…finally. There’s always that feeling that I ought to be doing some “school” work that takes about two weeks to shake. Yet, I love the tempo of the school year where there is always an ending that leads to a beginning with new students, new clothes (in dress code, of course), and a new chance to do better than the year before.
But, there will come a year when instead of stuffing the closet in room 201 to the breaking point, I will close it mostly empty. Someday, I will close this book and open another. Is that not the way of life?
And endings and beginnings remind so.
Christa, you close a book with Hannah this week, and you will open another…more beautiful. All these books—I want to read them closely. I want to enjoy them fully. But, unlike this literature book I place on the shelf, our life books can never be reread no matter how desperately we wish we could. We close one. We open another.
When I do close my teaching book for the final time, I think I’ll look back on it tenderly. Such good friends to share life with. Such potential surging in young hearts and minds. But, no one should ever close the last page of a book without a new one to open. And, there are no new books yet for me.
Then one day—we don’t know when—all these endings and beginnings will lead to the grandest ending and beginning of all…when we close a temporal book for one eternal.
The pages of a good book should be splattered with tea stains and tear stains. Read each chapter closely. Embrace and squeeze out the closeness of the God who loves us—the God who has written a book with no broken bindings—a setting and plot we can’t possibly imagine.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything