I remember well my first Grandparents’ Day at Trinity School. It must have been April or May of 1996, and I expect it was a Friday. I had just returned from my hometown, Knoxville, TN, where I had been interviewing for a job as Associate Pastor at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church. The lure of going home was strong and I was trained to be a pastor, but I was torn because there was this young school that Desiree and I, along with some others, had poured ourselves into. There was disappointment at Trinity already over the candidates we had interviewed for Headmaster, and a good friend or two had said, “You should think about this.”
I returned to Chapel Hill and Durham just in time for Grandparents’ Day at the new school meeting at Hope Creek Church. I remember standing in the back of the assembly hall, watching our fledgling school showcase their curriculum for an eager group of grandparents. I was weighing options, as I am wont to do: To stay or not to stay, that was the question.
And then came the Tallis Canon. Music teachers Doris Stam and Mary McKinney had introduced this to the students. I had not heard it since my friend, Brian, had introduced me to it in college. (Brian was my Christian friend who took it upon himself to introduce this Philistine to rich, classical Christian culture. He was, of course, Anglican.) As the students began their refrain, deep called to deep:
All praise to Thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light,
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings
Beneath Thy Own Almighty Wings.
I’m sure it was weeks before I was offered the job of Headmaster, and (alas, as is my wont) it took me two weeks to decide. But as I look back on it now, I think that the die was cast on that Grandparents’ Day. I remember thinking, Why would I not want to be around this kind of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty all my days?
As we prepare to celebrate the 21st Grandparents’ Day, I hope and pray that many Trinity Grandparents will experience the transcendent tug that I felt on that day in 1996. Trinity School has changed a lot, but this has not changed: We are a place where young minds and hearts are drawn to the beauty of God, where Christ plays in ten thousand places, where the generations see invisible faith passed like a visible torch from generation to generation. Non nobis foreever and ever. Amen.