I knocked on Ralph's door this morning around 8am expecting to find him curled up in a ball under his blanket, ruing the first day of orientation at El Centro de Estudiantes. When I got the "all clear" from inside, I swung open the door to find the 18 year old laying on his bed, fully-dressed in business casual, reading C.S. Lewis' "The Horse and His Boy."
After 3 months of missing school, today was the first day Ralph would set foot into an educational establishment and in his words he was "kinda excited." As we pulled up to El Centro, on the corner of Mascher and Dauphin, we noticed a large crowd of potential students that had gathered at the main doors of the old and colorful school building.
The nerves started to set in for Ralph as a student and Amber and I as guardians.
After finding a parking spot, we joined the crowd in front of the school. In a bout of nervous energy, I began to shower Ralph with advice on how to behave as a child of the Most High God in a sea of unbelievers/classmates that may/will attempt to pull him away from his God.
The doors opened and we made our way up a flight of steps into a makeshift meeting space that housed the--give or take-- 100 parents, guardians and students in attendance. The seemingly young principal--Ralph later found out that he was 30--introduced himself and Amber and I instantly felt at ease with the school that Ralph would be attending to gain his High School Diploma.
Ralph and the rest of his potential classmates were separated from us and other parents/guardians after fifteen minutes of introduction so a Q&A session could be held with the principal who--come to think of it--resembled a distant relative of Steph Curry.
While my wife was being confused for an 18 year old by a Temple Grad Student--she's just that youthful and beautiful--I began to wonder what my place was in protecting Ralph from all the dangers and roadblocks he could encounter during his stay at El Centro, then I remembered this doxology at the end of Jude:
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!
God's got him.
P.S. Today was my first day at Urban Hope as the Media and Arts Director. It's hard working in the bottom level of the office knowing the my lovely wife is just above me with limited interaction throughout the day.