We were asked, during our week at the Academy, to share the impact the Academy had for each of us. Other members of the community got up to share the ways the Academy had touched them, inspired them, motivated them. Prefacing the following by saying, “I don’t do profound,” I shared:

A spiritual Whosit from Whoville
went to an Academy for two years;
to assuage his spiritual lethargy
and some lingering vocational fears.
He knew he’d be asked to share its impact,
but when he finally stood to do so –
he found he had nothing to say1
So he sought a word from Abba Frito
(the chip monk of the desert, who, this time,
shared all his wisdom in iambic rhyme).

Thus spoke Abba Frito to help this Who,
“My son, you’ve been moving through life too fast.
You blitz through your books, you write next to naught:
weren’t letters and such once loves from your past?
From one deadline to another you rush,
moving at all times as if in a race.
I pray you slow down and trust, love, and serve
in the quiet assurance of God’s grace.
Slow down! Lest your rush leaves you in a lurch:
Salvation is not found saving the church.”

“Worship, study, and prayer, and silence, too,
these build up faith and are all well and good.
But don’t let false starts or even mistakes
bury you deep in the compost of ‘should.’
You can find a quotidian rhythm
in day to day life that lets you be still;
you can know God’s presence in the context
of your daily life with Lynn, Kate, and Will.
Though I suspect that Elijah might not
hear God’s voice amid the noise of that lot!”

“What matters cannot be gauged by numbers,
church growth, or institutional success.
What most honors and glorifies our Lord
is your attentiveness and faithfulness.
Listen, be quiet, and then be faithful
to God, vocation, and also your life.
God is present, and yearning to be known
in the church or with your children and wife.
Practice the presence of God day by day.
And that is something you will take away.”

And, finding Abba Frito’s words just fine,
This Who bids adieu, Academy Twenty-Nine.


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