Interesting: Grover seems to have invaded a corner of my “home office” space.
Nor is this cute furry Sesame Street creature the only recent addition to our home’s lower level. You see, “Pre-School” is breaking out all over at our place – and it’s injecting a curious new energy into areas that once served as my manly Inner Sanctum.
Call it an unexpected blessing, sprouting from the pandemic: Grandson #1 has reached pre-school age at the very moment in time when our society’s traditional “school routines” have been turned on their ear. But I happen to live with a loving and talented (and no longer “former”) Pre-School Teacher… who’s coming out of retirement to ensure that her Grandson’s kinder-development doesn’t skip a beat.
It’s been fascinating to watch the process unfold. For starters, I can’t believe Gerri still has all this classroom stuff – the posters, the borders, the books, the lesson plans – seeing as how she last taught Little Ones about 15 years ago. And more to the point: I can’t believe how rich and complex the learning environment in a good pre-school can be.
I am in awe.
And I’m starting to appreciate a bit more deeply, too, just what a blessing Pre-School Teachers are…and what a blessing Moms are…and Grandmas are…as they shepherd the Little Ones beyond the nest for the first time in their lives. It is surely proof – all their incredible efforts: a-thousand-loving-acts-every-single-day – of how God desires to work in the world.
Ironically, once you take that first step out of the nest…and into the world…you can start to lose touch with this profound presence of the Spirit. As your skillsets grow, and accomplishments accumulate, you might begin to believe you (mostly) got there on your own.
In Wednesday’s Mass reading, Saint Paul offers some intriguing words for any who are inclined to put a bit too much faith in their own abilities and insights.
I could not talk to you as spiritual people, but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were unable to take it.
Indeed, you are still not able, even now, for you are still of the flesh. While there is jealousy and rivalry among you, are you not of the flesh, and walking according to the manner of man?
Like the people of Corinth in Paul’s day, we may have a tendency to think we’ve moved beyond such childish things. But sometimes I wonder whether we might not also benefit from taking a trip back to Pre-School on occasion. Some of life’s most important lessons can be learned there. As Paul points out, it can be a great place to probe the deepest mysteries of the cosmos, too.
Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.