The month of November was perhaps the most difficult time we have experienced since Covid began ruling our lives back in March 2020. We, in the weekday Children’s programs, had been relatively sheltered from the many positive test results and ensuing quarantines that other schools and businesses had been dealing with all along. But that all came to a swift end in our Preschool, Daycare and After School programs. Each day took one or two or three more staff out with Covid or a Covid exposure. And these absences weren’t for just a day or two, as you well know, but ten to fourteen days.
We Had Nobody
By the third week of this mass exodus of staff members, I was at my wits end trying to find ways to keep the After-School program running. We
wanted to do everything possible to help our parents out, but – everyone was out. Everybody. Even our subs were in quarantine.
We made schedules of how to move staff around. We grouped students in creative ways. We attempted to clone any adult we could find so they could be in two places at one time ?. The few staff we had were working from 7:30 – 6:00 some days making sure all of our programs were covered. We limped through and had figured it out until Friday. But as we looked to Friday, we had approximately 75 Kindergarteners through 5th graders needing supervision, and I had Lacey (who will already have put in a full day in the Academy) and me as the only staff from 2:30 – 4:00 until another staff member was able to come in.
I prayed. I asked others to pray. We all prayed. But we had nobody.
The Body of Christ Showed Up
When Friday afternoon came, I still had no plan. But then, some “body” showed up. More specifically, the Body of Christ showed up. Like a spring storm that begins with a few sprinkles of rain, I saw Pastor Flaa (on his day off) walking through the hall with Darin, the church’s business administrator, and Jon, our multimedia manager. They headed out the door toward John Harris Elementary to meet the students and walk them back to the church. Jay, our head custodian, went the other direction and helped drive a van to pick up the Harvey Dunn Elementary kids. They all had other things they could have been, or should have been doing. But they showed up to help.
When I walked into the Fellowship Hall a few minutes later, the light sprinkling of help had turned into a virtual deluge of adults monitoring the many hungry and antsy elementary kids eating snack and getting ready to go outside for some much-needed activity. Nearly the entire Academy staff had stayed to help. As a teacher I knew: corralling kids on a Friday afternoon, after a full week of school, rather than cleaning up the classroom and getting plans and lessons ready for next week, was not their first choice. But they showed up to help.
The Profound Simplicity of Showing Up
I was brought to tears. I could not believe my eyes. In the simplest and yet most profound way ever, I felt rejuvenated because these co-workers, these friends, this body of Christ stepped up to help. In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about the different gifts of the Body of Christ. “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages.” 1 Corinthians 12:27-28. Each of these people who gave of their time had already been sharing their gifts – teachers and leaders who had put in a full week already. And yet, as the Body of Christ, they showed up to help.
Let us not overlook or underestimate the profound gift to the world when “those who can help others” show up and serve others in times of need.
Elise serves on the Abiding Savior Academy School Board, teaches logic, and serves as our Communications Coordinator. She has a master’s degree in persuasive writing, a juris doctorate, and is the author of Enough: Finding Abundant Life in a World Striving for More. Her greatest teachers, however, are her husband and their four children.She is blessed to practice what she’s learning about Christ’s love daily with her family in Sioux Falls, South Dakota