By Ali G.
In the absence of Pastor Pam whose Worship Wednesday services are the highlight of many students’ week, Family Leader, English teacher, acclaimed author and spiritual mentor to many Jan Cheripko took over Wednesday chapel this week. Instead of an upbeat Christian rock sing-a-long, this week we enjoyed something at a slightly different pace: a peaceful, enlightening 11th Step session. As any Family School student or person in the program could tell you, the Eleventh Step is: “We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, searching only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry it out.” Well, we were all confused when we received the instruction to bring a piece of paper and a writing implement with us to chapel today, but Jan’s intentions soon became clear. In between interfaith readings, from the religions Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, he played music. The readings were our prayer, our offering to God. While the music played, we had the opportunity to meditate and write or draw whatever came to us through our Higher Power.
This meditation was the act of listening to God and the messages he was sending us. Student Dani R. told me “As I was sitting in silence and looking at all the other students trying to practice the 11th Step as they understand it, all of a sudden all my resentments were lifted. It was such a great feeling to be free of negative emotion for that moment; it was better than any high substances could ever give me.” True moments of communion with God can be rare, when we’re caught up in the rigors of everyday life, but today’s chapel was a golden opportunity.