Wonder – Seeing beyond
I have never grown up when it comes to bubbles.
For me, bubbles get you in. They make me laugh. They fascinate me. They make me feel alive. They are something of mystery – so fragile and yet so beautiful, such a small thing that can bring enormous delight. Bubbles are something that I find are always best shared with others. I love blowing bubbles for my great niece and nephew and watching them chase the bubbles and pop them in squeals of joy.
Bubbles have always made me stop.
Wonder does that to us.
It makes us stop.
It makes us question.
It makes us feel alive.
It takes us beyond the here and now.
Jesus made people stop and he certainly made them wonder. In many ways, Jesus’ life was ‘wonder’ full.
It must have been amazing to see Jesus cure the lame, the deaf, the blind.
It must have prompted so many questions and curiosity (not always positive curiosity) when Jesus included women, or the unclean or even foreigners.
And imagine the astonishment when Jesus showed acts of love and healing on the sabbath which was against the laws of the time.
We don’t have Jesus walking the grounds of Clonard, or the streets of Geelong or even the laneways of Melbourne where we can see him bring people to the fullness of life by working miracles, welcoming the stranger, curing the sick or honouring the sacredness of creation.
But what we do have are daily miracles and moments of wonder that will make us stop and see beyond…if we let them.
I believe our challenge in this year of wonder is 3-fold:
Firstly, we must try to not be so busy or caught up in our own small world that we miss the moments. That we let an invitation of God pass us by.
Secondly, the invitation of a moment of wonder asks us so to see beyond – what more is there to this?
And finally, we have a choice in how we respond to the moment of wonder and the invitation to see beyond.
I have experienced ‘Wonder’ in this past fortnight
– in seeing our College gather as a whole community to celebrate Eucharist
– in the energy of our Year 7 families who gathered to learn more about supporting the transition of their daughters into secondary schooling
– in listening to our House Leaders build team spirit as we prepare for the House Sports this term and
– in the response of our staff and students to transition to remote learning with only a few hours’ notice.
These moments reminded me of the strength of our community, the power of relationships and connection, the creativity and resilience of students and staff and the importance of rituals and celebrations as a marker of our identity.
Who would have thought this time 12 months ago that we could pivot learning so quickly? We recognize that this may not be the last time we are called to be flexible and agile and we are confident that we can support the continuity of learning and connection for the students when and if these events present again.
In the past fortnight, I have also been challenged by educational thinkers who are inviting us to use the experiences of schooling during a pandemic to reimagine what might be possible for education. This week we commenced our partnership with the University of Melbourne in their ‘New Metrics’ Research Partnership. This project has a network of 37 schools from across Australia investigating the development of new metrics to assess, credential and measure student and school success. It recognises that young people must now be educated and assessed in new ways so they are prepared for a very different future to the world we entered when we left school. We feel both privileged and excited to be part of such an interesting and potentially ‘game changing’ initiative. Thank you to the parents who have already engaged with us by responding to the questions posed in relation to this project. We look forward to continuing to share with you our learnings as we venture into this project over the next two years.
Over the next fortnight, we will begin welcoming potential students and their families to our College for our Open Day tours. The format will be different from past years as we work within a COVID safe framework. Families are asked to ensure they register prior to the day they are wishing to attend so we can ensure we keep to our number limits. Information regarding Open Day and our registration links are available here.
This week we marked the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. The 40 days of Lent are a time for metanoia, a time to think again, a time to change hearts. In this year of wonder perhaps it is a time to see beyond the here and now to what we are being invited to over these next 6 weeks. The ritual of being marked with ashes on Ash Wednesday was absent this year due to our lockdown. Another sign of the times. In a strange way I knew something was missing on the day. The story of Lent is one where we learn that if we take this risk and strip back all that is superfluous, we may come to know more fully how deeply we are loved by God. Whilst we traditionally have seen Lent as a time of going without surely this is also a time for wonder!