by Adam Kronberger / Head of School
I suppose many Oregonians have begun to consider what outdoor plans they may be able to execute this summer. Living in such a seasonal climate, there is a limited window to enjoy activities in nature. My son and I are looking forward to hikes to the summits of South Sister and Mt. St. Helens. The experience of completing these fairly grueling hikes can be quite rewarding. At the end of each of our previous hikes, there is a satisfaction that comes from enduring the task. Oftentimes we remark, “The amount of water we took was just right!” or “Our new hiking poles really helped out!” or “I need to get into better shape!” Regardless of the degree of success, the bond of going through the challenging experience together deepens the bond of friendship and character in both of us.
As we near the end of the 2019-2020 school year with this season of distance learning, there is a similar sense of accomplishment. While none of us signed up for this mountainous schooling adventure, the forced experience is coming to completion. I’m sure there are plenty of comments being made in each of our households, “I’m so glad that it’s over!” or “I can’t believe what I”m saying, but I really miss school!” or “I never want to look at a screen again!” But on a more positive note, take the time to consider what has been gained through this experience. What new family routines were developed that deepened bonds of friendship? What innovation was developed that can be applied to other situations? What spiritual or character muscles were exposed to be out of shape?
There are many historical illustrations in Scripture that parallel our current circumstances. In most cases, words of encouragement and/or clear warnings were provided to simply not forget. Don’t forget what the Lord brought you through. Don’t forget what you have learned. Don’t forget that circumstances should not drive your character. Don’t forget that God is sovereign.
Still, I admit that a big part of me is eager to forget much of this season and move on. So I gladly accept the words of Paul who wrote, “one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). How exciting! What does the next season look like for each one of us as we fully engage in this upward call to walk with God?
Each time that I hike with my son, I always surprise him with some specially packed treats to enjoy when we reach the summit. To a much more significant extent, God always has a prize for us as we walk out the plans that He has for us. We will continue to communicate regularly with our CCS community as we make plans for the fall and the Lord establishes our steps.
Bless the Mess
by Adam Kronberger / Head of School
I began my humble painting career on the bottom rung of the ladder...literally. As a young green college student, I was entrusted with the most simple and menial tasks on our painting projects. Scraping paint, carrying ladders, and cleaning brushes was the extent of my abilities. Perhaps my least favorite chore was cleaning the airless sprayer at the end of each day. While the rest of the crew was heading home for dinner, I was stuck with the messy laborious job of cleaning the sprayer pump and feet of hose that had funneled paint onto the house during the day.
Eventually, I transitioned from being a painting apprentice with low wages to a small businessman with reliable extra income. But as my startup resources were limited, my jobs were completed by brush and roller as I could not afford an airless sprayer. Oh had I changed my tune! Instead of complaining about the messy cleanup of an airless sprayer, I was complaining about the lack of productivity that such a machine would have provided. On those early jobs, I would have gladly taken responsibility for the daily cleaning of the airless sprayer if I could have only utilized its benefits.
In chapel this week, we considered the Proverb “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest” (14:4). For those of you with pets or especially livestock, you understand that a degree of “mess” accompanies animals. But to say goodbye to the routine mess, you must also say goodbye to the joy or usefulness that the animal provides. The mess that is created is a minor inconvenience compared to the welcome presence of a friend.
During this season of quarantine, I assume that many of our homes have become much messier! With the kids home from school, the stable is no longer empty. Their presence has required more supervision, more support, more food, and more cleanup. But just as crops cannot be sowed and harvested without an ox, strong relationships cannot be built in isolation. And while relationships between teachers and students have taken a virtual context for a season, relationships among families have never been more available.
While some things will never be the same, other things will never change. At some point, your children will once again spend hundreds of hours a year out of your house and in the presence of others. While your stable may become a bit cleaner, you will miss the strength that this current situation provides to your family relationships. When I started my own painting business, I looked fondly on the past experience I had with the airless sprayer and longed for those days. May each of us not make the same mistake in our current circumstance. In spite of the minor messes, may we embrace, cherish, and celebrate any opportunities we have right now in our own stables for a large harvest of family discipleship.