I was down the hallway and almost out the door, just like so many other times at the end of the school day, when it hit me. This was my last, last time to do this. This day had been my last, last day and I had lived it like it was every other day that had gone before and like all the days that would surely follow, identical in their sameness, yet unique in the variations that existed within the framework of that sameness. (there are always surprises when you are dealing with teenagers) Except that now there would be no days like this to follow. Some people called it monotony, I called it comfort. I called it home. It is the place I have belonged.
How had I not realized that this was my last, last day? Well, for one thing, it was not the last day of the school year, there were still almost two weeks left. But it was my last day because I was leaving early to go on a mission trip. Besides with the year- round school calendar we are on, there are lots of last days as we are always starting and stopping. Even summer break is short lived, not long between the last day and the first day of starting up again. It kind of all blends together.
So why was this day so significant for me? Because this high school is closing. I will not be returning here in just a few short weeks to began another school year. I will not be returning at all. There will be nothing here to return to. So that explains my feelings. I have been coming to this school for many years and I don’t want that to change. I have had many “last days” here but they have always been followed by yet another first day. Not anymore. I am a nomad by nature, but this school, out of all the schools I worked in, had become my home. Now my home is closing. When you can’t return home, where do you go? (even teachers who retire and students who graduate can return “home” and visit their alma mater)
Growing up I was taught that the church is not the building, it is the people. I think this is true of schools as well. This building will still stand and will be used for younger grades and some alternative programs. But the high school that it once was will be gone. No more football games, basketball games, bands, choirs; no more graduating classes. The people; the students, staff and faculty who make up this school community will be gone; dispersed and absorbed into other already existing communities. I can return to the building, but the school will be gone. There will not be another first day of school here. This year, the last school day was truly the last, last day.
And I missed it, being in Zambia at the time of its’ occurrence. Maybe that was for the best. I had my own last, last day alone, in solitude, not even aware that I was living it until my final walk down the hall, when I realized that I had just finished my last, last day in the place I had come to call home somewhere along the way. How glad I am that in eternity there will be no “last, last time” for anything. It will be all about “hello” and never about “good-bye.” Because, eternity by definition has no end point. So no need of good-byes, there will never be the last of anything that is good again. There will be no more “last, last times.” and that’s fine by me!
“Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns Your house for endless days, O Lord.” (Psalm 93:5)
“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13)
sincerely, Grace Day