After many weeks of promoting and planning, the day of our school carnival finally arrived. It had rained for the past several days, so seeing the beautiful Florida sunshine and feeling the warm breeze was already a blessing. As I drove up to our school grounds early on Saturday morning, I was amazed at the army of volunteers that were already at work setting up booths and displays. Our wonderful PTA sponsored the carnival as a fundraiser and each grade level created a booth. Our fifth grade booth featured a Hawaiian theme with a hulu hoop contest. Local businesses and community organizations also had booths in support of our school.
After watching hundreds of students hulu hoop their way to win a lei, I took some time to walk around. I witnessed so many powerful expressions of commitment to our school community. PTA volunteers arriving at 6:30am to set up after weeks of selling tickets and promoting this event in every way possible. Teachers and staff sacrificing their day off, away from their own families, to spend time in support of their school family. Businesses and community organizations incurring promotional expenses to offer their goods and services to help our students and to assist our school with raising funds. Finally, families spending quality time together with their children, away from their busy weekday routines, cell phones and video games to make memories they will hopefully cherish for years to come.
As the hectic day drew to a close, I helped pack up our booth and then started my drive home. As I reflected on the day, it was not so much the material success of the event that touched me, but the power and presence of a community gathering together for children.
LIFE LESSON: It is so easy these days to avoid connecting with others. We can text instead of calling and hearing a human voice, we can email instead of meeting someone face-to-face, we can avoid making a commitment to a cause because we “don’t have time” or “don’t feel like it.” I was reminded that nothing can replace the power that is unleashed through human presence. When we gather together for a purpose beyond ourselves to help others, as we were designed to do, it honors God and He promises His presence. I believe His presence was evident through the beautiful weather, joy and smiles on the childrens’ faces and the feeling of purpose and sense of fulfillment many of us felt by giving of ourselves and gathering with others.
“For where two or more are gathered together in My name, there I am with them.” Matthew 18: 19-21