This is solid gold...written by Ellen Stark (second year ESBS staff):
"I have always despised and rejected the classroom floor. You don’t realize, until you have to clean it, that it’s nearly impossible to clean. Wood, cut into tile-size shapes with nothing filling in the cuts…this classroom that is surrounded by gravel and red mud quickly creates an extremely dirty floor. And you have to vacuum every. single. crack. And no matter how much dirt you suck up into the vacuum, there’s always more.
Hate, frustration, apathy…any negative emotion you can think of, I’ve probably felt it for this floor.
But there is one spot that I’ve realized I love. The most worn down part of the entire building is right by the door. No finish on it, no stain, nothing – it has been worn down to bare wood.
And I wish that I could preserve it. Why? Because it speaks of what this classroom has been to so many people. It screams the change this building has played a part in creating for so many people.
In the summer it’s known as the “Hensen Haus” (no, I did not accidentally misspell “house”). In the fall, winter, and spring, it’s known simply as “the classroom”.
Two different groups of people. Two different atmospheres. Same building. Same Gospel. Same Jesus.
The building has one distinct smell. None of the other buildings on campus have this smell. Nowhere else I’ve ever been has this smell. Is it dirt? Grease? Mold (I hope not)? What is that smell?!
In my heart and mind I realize that I’ve come to associate this smell with learning, turmoil, and peace. It’s the smell of security, stability, and simplicity. There’s not much to boast about in the classroom. To anyone who doesn’t love it, anyone who holds it to the standard of “real schools”, it looks like a worn down, crooked, smelly building.
But if the classroom could speak, it would boast Jesus.
If the classroom had a voice and a soul, it would speak of the riches gained by 8 groups of people. No money, nothing visibly impressive, but vast riches unseen.
If the classroom could talk, it would tell you of the late nights, the early mornings, the thousands upon thousands of paragraph titles, the tears spilled inside and out, the heart-wrenching grief, the silent joy, and the sudden pause of typing fingers for a mind to reflect. Laughter, bickering, iron sharpening iron…this classroom has seen it all!
It’s seen the all-perfect, all-knowing God make whole so many broken and needy people. Needy because they are so very much in need of Him. It’s a room full of struggle and laughter.
This classroom has depth. And beneath the smell, behind the run down look of the place, there is beauty.
There is no grand way to finish this post. Nothing concisely, perfectly said that I can write because the story of the classroom is not grand, concise, or perfect. Much like its people, it is crooked, well worn, beautiful, and loved. One day, hopefully not too soon, I will leave. It’s inevitable.