My father wasn’t the warm cuddly type. He didn’t play board games, not even scrabble! But as an athlete, he loved sports and interacted with us, especially my brother, in that arena. However, school, books, and homework were a definite guaranteed fulcrum around which we bonded.

Oh, how he cherished a new pen! I can see the sunlight reflecting off of his miniature inkwell-like jars lined up on his desk. I was fascinated when he manipulated, like straws, his fountain pens with their new nibs to suck up the ink therein. He had a separate fountain pen for each color! When cartridge fountain pens became popular, he had to have some of those as well. My dad wrote all his letters, sermons, articles, and books in beautiful longhand with those amazing pens. The Baylor University Library has all of these manuscripts preserved in the Finley Graham collection.

I have this same love of school supplies in my DNA. I remember bonding with my dad over school supply shopping. We would make an afternoon of it starting with his favorite downtown Beirut vendor who stacked his infinite inventory to the ceilings of his walk-in-closet-size shop tucked in the corner of a side street over-shadowed by the landmark gigantic clock tower set to BBC (British Broadcasting Corp) time.

Fast forward to today. My youngest grandchild face-timed me this week eager to show off her new school supplies. She exuberantly displayed her new “grown-up” notebooks, pens, pencils, map colors, scissors, and their special, allotted, zippered, hombre-hued storage pouch! She eagerly explained to me that she was all ready for school and had even cleaned out her desk drawers to accommodate the new things. I was tickled as she itemized her readiness list to me in a staccato, power-point type precision:

“Supplies, check;

Backpack & matching lunch bag, check;

Doctor’s appointment, check;

Dentist appointment, check;

New outfit, check;

Maw, all I have left to do is get a haircut and I’m ready for fifth grade!”

Oh, if we could be just as confident in our own readiness to meet new challenges! Have we asked our father for the resources we need? Are we confident that we are well-equipped to do the “homework” we are tasked to do? Have we renewed, replaced, and refilled our “school supply” cache of spiritual resources?



How prepared are you?

Therefore, take up God’s armor; then you will be able to stand your ground when things are at their worst, to complete every task and still to stand. . . Put on the belt of truth, the coat of mail of integrity, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the word of God.

Ephesians 6: 13-17

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