Friday 1 June 2018

The Small Details

So, on Monday after our staff prayer, I followed the buzzing crowd of boys as we began the first wave of students occupying the new Therry building. Walking along, watching classes getting started, watching young men lay claim to the title of ‘First!’ in using a brand new learning facility, seeing all the hard work of the planning and building come to fruition as students excitedly entered the building and classrooms was really energising to witness. But the real lesson came a couple periods later when I again walked through and I stopped a young man to ask what he thought of it. “It’s AWESOME!” He said. What did he like best about it, I asked. The new House areas? The technology of the smart boards? The open plan design? The incredible green-oriented computer-driven heating and cooling system? The solar panels driving the systems? The lockers or comfortable and familiar furniture? None of those, he said. What then? What could possibly overshadow all of the innovation driving our new gift? “It’s simple, Father, it’s the toilets. They’re AWESOME. That’s what we’re all taking pictures of right now.” After picking the shards of my ego, and my chin, off the floor, I started thinking about what he’d said. Sometimes, it’s the smallest details that make the biggest impact. And gratitude is gratitude, no matter what it’s for. At least, as Saint Ignatius points out, if we start with gratitude, all things are possible. So let us give thanks for all the new gifts of the Therry building, and to all those who have made it possible.


What I love about surfing is the absolute presence to the moment that it requires. You catch a wave and you forget yourself. You forget how warm or cold the water is. You forget how you’ve been out there all day and nothing has happened. You forget all the other worries that are waiting for you when you get back to the shore. In that moment there is just you and the ocean, and you’re working as one; you’re engaged in an amazing dance with creation. Maybe you are a surfer, maybe you aren’t. There is a wave coming for you right now, today, that can make you feel that way. Are you ready to catch it and ride?⠀

Fr Jack McLain SJ