Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Calving Season"

There's really nothing quite like the beginning of the fall semester!  It's a time of year that is truly special and unique.  
Most people have never seen the 7 part documentary called "The Last American Cowboy."  It's about 3 different Montana cattle ranches and the families that own/run them.  It's thoroughly interesting to see how all three ranches really do things a little bit differently based on their size and resources. 

I reference that movie often at the beginning of the year as I'm coaching our student leaders because  I compare the beginning of the school year to "calving season."  Calving season on a cattle ranch is an extremely important, extremely busy,  and unique time of year.  It's an "all hands on deck" season where the normal rhythms of life are disrupted by the critical work of delivering  the baby calves.  The whole years work and the  financial future of the ranch is dependent upon live, healthy cows, so the key is to see as many calves "hit the ground" safe and ready to thrive.   Everybody is "on call" and life looks different during calving season.  

Normally the cowboys and ranch hands don't stay up all night -but during calving season, that's not rare. The work is exhausting, and although normally the hands don't sleep in the barn -during calving season they might.  The workers are on a round the clock schedule and where on a normal day, no one would ever have to sleep in the truck -during calving season they will!  Everything is different during calving season and the "routine" or lack thereof is informed by the mission during this special time of year. 

And that's how it is during the beginning of the fall semester on campus.  Diligence is the name of the game, especially at a place like Cornell.  Together with our student leaders we labor in ways and at a pace that is unlike any other time of year.   We spend more money on food -both as we host kick-off events, but also as we spend time eating in the north campus dining facilities with new students.   I eat fewer meals with my family during this time of year, and our student leaders also eat less at home.  We stay up later -attending glow in the dark dance parties, hosting late night sports events and planning for the next days activities.  We get up early, to spend time in prayer, we're sending tons of emails, texts and facebook messages to new students who are interested in getting connected to the body of Christ.  We spend hours standing at tables in all sorts of strategic places on campus welcoming people, handing out information packs and inviting people to our small groups.   The first few weeks are different, they are definitively more hectic and they require more energy than usual.  

A campus ministers life looks very different during the first month and a half of school the same way a cattle ranchers does during calving season.  You simply cannot treat that time of year the same as any other.  The pace slows down around October, but right now, we're still in the midst of our "calving season."  

No comments:

Post a Comment