Posted by: Jim E | February 13, 2012

Life Is A Circle…If You Live Long Enough…And Stay By The Stuff…

It is snowing a bit this morning…and reminds me a little of Minnesota…it will turn to rain by 1:00 of so…and the snow will be  gone…that’s the way it is here in Little Rock…snow comes, maybe…and then is gone…just too warm…and that’s okay with me…I had my fill of snow and cold over the the 65 years or so of living in the north country…and if I still lived there, it would be okay too…I still love Minnesota, even with all its obvious drawbacks…this weather though, along with something I read over the weekend, made me think of something that happened in the fall of 1997…

I had just been named the principal of a large suburban high school just north of Minneapolis, MN…I had been an assistant principal there for 20 years…and before that a teacher…and now just three years before I retired, this change in my life presented itself…it turned out to be a great experience…I already knew the community, the kids, and the staff…so it was a fairly easy transition…it was the workload that changed…but it was all great…

My title of this post is easy to understand I guess…and you will “get” the “Life is a Circle…If you live long enough” part of it…but the “Stay by the Stuff” may not be as familiar to everyone…I love the term “Stuff”…I use the word often, when I write, when I talk…so stuff is familiar to all of us…most think of it as a “common” term…not to be used very often in “proper” writing or conversation…but it is a Biblical term…it is found in the King James Bible numbers of times…so it is an old English word from the 1500’s and beyond…but also there is a French rendering too…but I go on too much…

Where I found the phrase and why I like it is because of the story in I Samuel 30:24…(and also found close by in I Samuel 25:13)…a story about David and his army…400 went into battle and 200 stayed behind with the stuff…(the goods, supplies, etc)…when the battle was over the 400 didn’t think they should have to share the spoils of war with the 200 that “stayed with the stuff”…but David, wisely said something like…”the share of the spoils, who stayed with the stuff, is to be the same as those who went down to the battle”…in other words those who stay by the good stuff and were faithful in doing that, are worthy of the same reward…thus the title, life is a circle and if we live long enough and stay by the stuff…the important things in life…there will be a reward…I want to tell you about such a reward…not money or spoils but good things of life…little things, but still good things…

This will be somewhat hard to explain to you…the dates will be over an almost 30 year span, and will be important to the story…I will try hard to put them in an orderly fashion so you can follow…I wrote this first part September 13, 1997, to the staff at Coon Rapids High School where I was their new/old principal…

I am at home writing this…it is just too long to write in a busy office…I got an email at school, on Thursday, September 11…it was from someone who graduated from Coon Rapids and I wanted to share that with you…but first a story to make it meaningful to you…as it was to me…

It was January 1973 and I was a World History teacher here..right up in room 212…Judie knew there was something wrong with Jeremy and we ended up at North Memorial Hospital…Jeremy, our son, at 2 1/2, had a highly malignant brain tumor…(I cannot take the time to tell that story now)…after the surgery, we were in the hospital room…and I suppose feeling sorry for ourselves…4 boys and our youngest with a tumor that would, we were told, take his life…and we felt sorry for ourselves, until we lifted our eyes and looked around…and we saw others with more serious problems than we had…we knew then we had to be thankful for what we had…and then we began to meet other parents on that pediatric floor…

One of those was Bill and Donna Caverley…and we met Lisa, their daughter and Kent too…he had an inoperable brain tumor…and was now in a coma…he had been that way for many months…and for all that time, Donna was in the room everyday…Bill every night…and sometime together…reading and talking to Kent…Bill was a teacher and he would correct papers while carrying on a conversation with Kent or us…I remember being in the room when Kent woke up…what an experience!!!…

We struck up a friendship that is still going today, 24 years later (though we don’t see each other very often)…as time went by…Kent graduated from Coon Rapids High School…and of course Lisa too…now we are up to the email I received that other day…let me share that with you…and then some thoughts…

“Hi, This is Lisa (Caverley) DuHamel, just wishing you a congratulations on the new position at CRHS!! My oldest daughter (Bree) is now in 9th grade there and doing fine. She is on the tennis team, and trying to get involved!! It’s exciting for me, since I also went to school there (1978 – oh sooo long ago). I saw you at the Open House, but knew that was a huge evening for you, so thought I’d take a minute of your time now!! Have a great day!! I’ll run into you another day!! Mom and Dad (Bill and Donna) say Hi. Hi to Judie!!  Lisa”

I emailed Lisa a thank you…and told her I was excited too…

Now, why did I share this with you?

Life is somehow a circle…if you can live long enough…things just come back to you…if we had not looked up…we would not have known the Caverleys…and would our experience with Jeremy been different?…if we had not seen their modeling of love and care and that they reached out to us…and would all of us now know that this school played an important part in Kent and Lisa’s life?…and the fact that even Bill and Donna’s grandchild (Lisa’s daughter) attends here?…

Every student here has a story…and we are part of it…sometimes more personal than other times…but we play a huge role in their lives…so many people I have talked to recently are so proud of this school…and that reflects on all of us here…and that’s why so many parents join Lisa in being “excited” because their child is going to Coon Rapids High School…Jim E

Lots of things have happened since 1997…I retired in 2000, after 35 years in education…it was  great run, I loved it…Judie and I took care of my Mom and Dad until the end of their lives…and at the end of that time, my Mom was in a nursing home…and as the circle continued, Kent was there too, as were his parents, and yes, spending time with him…Kent passed away May 6, 2006…but you know, the story goes on…I may not get to see or be a part of that story at this point…but there will be others who “Stay By The Stuff”…do the right things, the important things…and they will get the same reward as those who “went down to battle”…

  Judie and I have never done anything “really big”…nothing heroic…nothing great…but we have tried to “stay by the stuff”…and somehow we have seen things come back to us…little things, things that give us peace about our lives and service to the God who loves us…and wanted us to pass that on to others…

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Responses

  1. Awesome great post Jim thanks for sharing Stay by the stuff… have a great week.

    Saun

    • Saun…I thought about you and your job with kids just like Kent…and our Jeremy and our grandson Micah…all different and all special…and people like you have and are working with then over the years…we are all thankful for you…and honored to know you…Jim E

  2. Beautiful story. Very thought-provoking and encouraging. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    Take care,
    Julie

    • Julie…it is sort of neat isn’t it?…these kind of things just fall into place without our hand involved…we just have to be awake enough to recognize it…Jim E


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