Tomorrow my official duties as a teacher begin for the school year—even though the calendar says Saturday. Orientation for middle school students happens on the weekend so that come Monday morning we can hit the ground rolling.


Tomorrow afternoon I will host a group of 7th grade girls in my living room for cookies and conversation about life at Stony Brook. They will be nervous, giggly, excited—all mixed together. I enjoy the informal opportunity to get to know my students before we meet in the classroom. It’s like a sneak peek at my students’ personalities before they show up at my door for literature or writing class.

With each start of school, there is always a mixture of excitement and anxiety rolling around in my heart too. The relaxed days of summer draw to a close and a new set of rhythms and routines begin. An adjustment period ensues where I fumble around until I settle into my new schedule. This year my preps and duties are the same as last year, which is HUGE for me. I am praying for a little more breathing room this fall.

I also enter this season as the mother of a senior in high school. Jacob will be making some important decisions this fall about where to apply for college and thinking about what course of study he would like to pursue. Each significant event at school will be marked with the phrase, “the last home football game” or “the last cross country meet.” I don’t know if a parent is ever fully prepared to launch a child from home. I can’t help but feel sad. At least Brad and I get to ease into this new stage of life since Jacob is boarding on campus this year. His bedroom is 1000 feet from our house. Often we will see him multiple times a day. But it is still different not having him here.

On Monday I have been asked to give the blessing at the school’s convocation. A blessing is a call for God’s favor and protection. I plan to include the following prayer as part of my blessing.

O God of new beginnings, new life, and new journeys, you sent Abraham and Sarah into a new land; you led Moses, Aaron and Miriam out of Egypt and into liberation; you led your Son our Savior to earth, to the cross, and into resurrection. Walk with us, we pray, as we enter into a new year, a new path, new opportunities. Amen. (by The Rev. David R. Henson)

 Whatever your beginning may be—a new work week, a new school year, a new job—may  the promise of God’s presence fill your heart and mind today.

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