He wears many ties, and multiple hats. This is one of numerous reasons that the school children adore him .
Talking and identifying with those that are under your tutelage can be challenging . Kids are crazy smart and intuitive and can spot a phony a mile off.
Strolling down the hallways of the school, the scent of pine sol cleaner from freshly mopped floors fills the nostrils. His shoes click as he walks. He wears a smile, and a different tie every day . He doesn’t demand respect, but he gets it none the less.
The children have come to expect this. They wonder with eager anticipation daily which of the 100 plus ties will be making an appearance that day.
He has a twinkle in his eye, and a friendly demeanor, but the kids and staff know he means business too . He has an air of authority, but the mischievous grin of a fellow compadre to these children. They know he cares. This is more than a job, it’s a chosen and beloved vocation , and he greets each day with anticipation and vigor .
I wonder what it’s like when a child gets called into his office as the principal of the school ? I have a distinct feeling that they they do not fear him, but respect, oh yes he has that from them . Does he demand it, or has it been gotten from kindness, with a unique mix of sincerity, and honesty.
These kids know that they can count on him . He has their back, and he is willing to bear their burdens, and will bend an ear to listen to their words. He does not desire to ever let them down, or to let anyone down .
He is a leader, a father, a son, an uncle, a nephew, a zoologist, a teacher, a principal, and my dear friend’s husband.
He is willing to fight battles. He has proven this time and again. The proof is on the pudding people, but come to think if it I don’t even know what that means, however I do enjoy a tasty pudding.
He chooses to go into work during chemotherapy. He doesn’t let that stop him . He has been waging war with cancer for over 5 years now . He remains stoic and stayed and resolute in his battle against this enemy that threatens to take him down .
His family adores him , and supports him, just as he has always lived and been there for them . There is such respect and love in this household. I have had the pleasure of getting to know this family intimately in these past months. I have stayed in their home, and sat at the dinner table with them . This house emanates love. There is peace in the middle of the storm here.
This house is in the eye of the storm . As the circling winds and debris from the tornado of illness swirl all around, there at that dinner table, as our heads are bowed, and we give thanks for our food, there is peace. The peace that is beyond understanding. It is there. I have experienced it.
What a privilege it is to be in their home . Is their sickness there, yes there is. It’s woven into their every day lives. It is part of the fabric covering the couches that they sit on, the beds they rest upon. The level of care shared between one another. They all work together for the betterment of their family,
There is the saying that ” when one member of the family gets sick than everyone in the family gets sick. “. There is much truth, and also a lot to ponder in this statement. Certainly when a loved one falls ill, those who are closest are immeasurably affected.
Courage lives in this man . He is a warrior, a knight, a super hero .
What is a superhero?
The Oxford dictionary says that a superhero ” has unusual strength or power ; and uses it to help people; a real person who has done something unusually brave to help someone opposite supervillain.”
Supervillain in this situation is cancer , and it’s a strong adversary . It means to win, and defeat this man. It does not realize the tenacity and focus of its’ foe. There is no giving up in him . He has faced multiple bouts of chemotherapy, radiation, sickness, a stroke, and a few years of a global pandemic thrown in just to make it extra challenging .
I respect and love this man . He is a friend, and I am in awe of his stamina, resolve, and the infinite care and love he showers over his family daily.
One of their most precious nightly routines is how they gather together in their family room in the evenings. There is a plush brown loveseat, sofa, and big reclining chair lining the walls. The room is dimly illuminated by the soft yellow glow of brass table lamps. His hospital bed is against the fireplace, covered with multiple plush blankets.
The carpet is beige and soft beneath my socked feet. I take the big reclining chair, and gently rock back and forth . It is a comfort . I wait .
He sits upon his bed, and quietly opens his Bible . He begins to read a passage from the psalms. His two sons, and his fiancé, his wife and I listen with reference. This is an intimate gathering. This is holy ground.
We share prayer requests after the reading, and then each of us, offers prayers up audibly . These are done from out of the cries of our hearts. There is much unsaid, the ongoing prayers that have been, and will continue to be prayed are uttered in silence.
Tears fill my eyes as I observe this family, with bowed heads, yes I peeked during the prayers, and I shake my head with wonder at how deeply precious they are .
The word victory comes to mind . They are unanimous because they stand together. Their arms are linked, and their battle cry is synonymous with, we are one , and we are united by love and faith .
This man has been there for his family when his wife and son suffered brain injuries, from a car accident many years ago, and all that has meant as they fought and travelled the long road to recovery. He has been there, cape hidden under his dress shirt.
Most recently he has been the loving patriarch and leader of his family as he observed with his wife and family, his sister in law raging against ovarian cancer. What a journey it’s been for this family.
The shock of this loss of his sister in law in November has stunned him, and all of this family unit. This is too much . Too much illness. This is hard .
They are all grieving. This is living grief . It is in the air that they breathe, the coffee they drink, and the homemade Turkey soup that he eats.
Nourishing their souls is faith in Jesus, and the staying power of his grace that envelops their lives. They need him and count on him for their next breaths.
I’m on the lookout for a super hero cape. Attached on the collar of his shirt flowing out behind him as he strolls the hallways of his domain , kids coming towards him, and flooding in behind him, as he leads by example. They want to follow him, they trust him.
This super hero wears a tie.