Peaks and Valleys

Nothing exemplifies the highs and lows of working at Cornerstone more than Friday, May 25th of this year.  On that day, my wife and I attended the funeral of Margaret Wright, our Kindergarten teacher, then drove straight to Cornerstone's 2018 High School Prom.  Our emotions were slung from tears of pain to tears of joy in the course of the short drive from Vienna, Virginia to Greenbelt, Maryland. At the first gathering, we witnessed the heartache of parents saying goodbye to their daughter, while at the second we watched parents filled with hope watching their sons and daughters being dropped off for prom with such excitement.

When we founded Cornerstone nineteen years ago, we imagined the hope-filled days where God's work would be evident.  We dreamed of graduations, proms, college success stories, and about lifetime commitments to the God of the Gospels. Truthfully, I don't think any of us gathered in those backroom offices on Capitol Hill, where we initially planned to launch this school, imagined the amount of loss and confusion we have faced along the way.  We founded this school with peaks in clear view and valleys hidden.

What I have come to learn, particularly since moving from the Board to my role as Principal, is that both the peaks and the valleys are opportunities to see God at his best. Margaret's funeral was a testament to a life well lived and the outpouring of support we have seen since is a reminder that God is at his best when we are at our weakest. This has been true in times of sickness, death, expulsions, and other traumas that have too often clouded our school days.  Likewise, witnessing our students share an evening of wholesome fun, filled with food, laughter, great music, and dancing is as God would want it. Joy and happiness are a constant visitor and our hallways are often filled with laughter.

 Photo by Caren Louise Photographs

Photo by Caren Louise Photographs

On Tuesday, we graduated nine seniors with whom I have had the unique opportunity to walk through some deep valleys and climb the highest of peaks over these last four years.  Many of the stories you have read in my updates are about our journey together; from "Pray for Me," to "Sitting Shiva." On Tuesday, I gathered the soon to be graduates in the hallway for one final prayer and then witnessed them move their tassels to the cheers and tears of their parents, family, friends, and teachers.  

God, stay with these students and their families as they move from Cornerstone to their next adventure.  Let them continue to overcome the many valleys they will surely face and let them climb peaks higher than they could ever imagine.  May they forever know your peace and your joy and may they return often to their Cornerstone family to share of your work in their lives.  Let it be so.