Thursday, May 10, 2007

I love taking my son Leo to school each morning; in fact, it's one of the highlights of my day. Perhaps it's because a stay-at-home father doesn't have much to look forward to each day? But I like to think it's more than that.

Join me, as I drive my son to school; a mere 15 blocks from our home.

Exiting out of our driveway, I usually ask Leo what he is looking forward to today or we practice his spelling word list for the week. This usually accounts for 12 of these 15 residential blocks.

From this point on, Leo and I are usually discussing our plans that will occur just after school and into the evening. Leo is my "big helper" at home when my wife is traveling abroad for her work. We chat about what we plan to do, how we'll do it and what we would like to do if we have time. All of this in a mere three blocks - traffic is usually hectic and slow in this area.

On approaching his school on the right, we come to a stoplight and usually have to wait in a parade of cars at this stoplight. On turning right, as I look to my right, there is Leo's school (Nativity Elementary), in all of its past, present and future hope. And to my left, across the street, is Meritcare Hospital.

Every now and then I'll pause in the parking lot of Nativity Elementary and reflect on all of the students that have graced the hallways of this school and all the students who are yet to come. So many stories of hope, anxiousness, excitement, joy and wonder... Anxious parents, wanting only the best for their children.

It was at this school (rather, the Nativity Church attached to it) where my younger sister was wed so many years ago and her beautiful daugher, my niece Abbie, was baptized. It was at this school that my son had his first Cub Scout meeting. It was this same school in which my son performed in his first musical. And it was in this same school's parking lot where we have formed an annual tradition of climbing Mt. Nativity; the very large snowpile that forms each year from plowing the parking lot.

So much history and future in this one place; this hallowed place.

While reflecting on the school, I'll turn around and pause for a moment to glance at Meritcare Hospital. It's hard to fathom all the persons and families that have trekked the hallways of this one hospital - so many moments of fear, hope, sorrow, determination and wonder... Anxious families and friends, wanting only the best for their loved ones.

It was this hospital where I have visited so many ill friends and colleagues since my college days. It was at this same hospital that Di and I took Leo to at 2:00 am on Christmas Day a few years ago when he was experiencing severe stomach cramps. It was this same hospital I took my daughter Hannah to when she experienced a febrile seizure in the middle of the night. And it was the same hospital in which I would visit with my mother-in-law for the very last time, right before her death at home in December 2005.

So much history and future in this one place; this hallowed place.

Two worlds with so many intersecting journeys, separated by ten feet of pavement. How much learning and caring has occurred in both locations.

Today my prayer is for the continued and safe journey of both pupils and patients.



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