Questions From Under A Table

Each spring, the juniors at BFA end the year by writing college essays, personal statements that answer one or both of two broad questions: “What has made you who you are?” and “What do you care most deeply about?” Every few years, I feel inspired to write an essay of my own to share with…

An Ode To New Friends

Graduation seasons begin early around here. Though Black Forest Academy still has a good six weeks of school left on the calendar, social media means that we get to participate virtually in the early graduations of universities in America, from which mortarboards and monochromatic robes have begun to fill Facebook and Instagram. This is always…

The Crucible: Classic & Current

You must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. This is a sharp time, now, a precise time—we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world. Now, by God’s grace, the…

Haunted By Homes

“No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home.” Creed Bratton, The Office Luci and I halt abruptly in front of the kitchen/toy/hardware store window display on Hauptstrasse, because I’ve spied a familiar word. Beside an elegant box containing three ceramic egg-cups and…

Of Exile {In The Library}

Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile,…

A Chronicle of Longing

A very happy Last Day of Class from Black Forest Academy. For me, there are still two weeks of work left: two exams, two ceramics critiques, a debate, a graduation ceremony, and a few days of staff meetings and moving the Middle School. This makes our final day a little anticlimactic compared to the homework-burning,…

A Place Between: Thoughts From a Refugee Camp

The the students and the rest of the staff have already gone by the time I’m ready, with coat and lunch, to head over to our work site for Impact Day 2017. This is the fourth annual Impact Day at Black Forest Academy, for which we give up a day of classes to do service projects in…

Commencement {Of Dreams, Failure, and Asking For Help}

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:12 A ninth-grader stoops down to zip up the long robe, struggling with the zipper until a classmate helps him. “Do I have to wear the hat?” he asks…

Hearing The Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play,      And wild and sweet      The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men!  And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom      Had rolled along      The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!  Till, ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day,      A voice, a chime,      A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men!  “Hey, this is a song!” I hear it half a dozen times as the eleventh-graders walk into class and pick up today’s reading, Longfellow’s “Christmas Bells.” “‘I heard the bells on Christmas Day,’” the first student reads aloud, then exclaims…

Weary

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough. Ralph Waldo Emerson Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galations 6:9 My students silently and gingerly tiptoe across…