It was a rainy Tuesday morning, humid and hurried, as bright-eyed students hustled toward the school entrance, their excited steps marked by splashes of puddles on pavement. Dressed for adventure, their leather boots laced and their wide-brimmed hats secured, they passed through the threshold, all at once feeling hesitant yet hopeful, with a quest set out before them, a call to adventure, a familiar beginning to every great story.
Our first day theme, Adventure Awaits, was not just an opportunity for fun photos or for students to dress up like miniature Patagonia models, but a deliberate invitation into a better story, an opportunity to imagine themselves embarking on a mighty quest, to see themselves as the characters they read about in adventure books and watch on the big screen.
From ancient mythology to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the stories we tell point to an eternal truth, one where good triumphs over evil and love conquers all. Great literature endures because it sparks something within us that speaks to the very fabric of our being.
Our own DNA is itself a narration, written by A Narrator who pulls us to Himself. Because of this innate orientation toward something greater, stories have been resonating with our deepest longings for generations: Odysseus longs for home. Jay Gatsby grasps for identity. Captain America runs toward a purpose. And so on.
Every hero has a quest, a journey toward a resolution. The question we must ask ourselves, and our students, is then, where do we fit in this story? What is our quest and to what end are we pursuing?
The poet Walt Whitman asked this of himself:
“The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?”
“That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
The powerful play goes on, and we each contribute a verse. It’s no wonder, then, that the word universe comes from the combination of two Latin words meaning, “one verse”, or, “one line of poetry”. The world is, to put it simply, one big poem. An eternal epic. And we are the characters.
The kindergartener in West Virginia is just as much a hero as the Greek Achilles—each on a quest, a journey in which, when we have the right compass, leads us home. Our students each have their own journey, their own individual quest for truth, beauty, and goodness, their own journey home.
Augustine wrote that to seek God is “the great adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.” This is the goal of Covenant School, the resolution we move toward—to seek and to find. With this end in sight, adventure truly does await our students this year, and for many years to come. Onward.