This is what I find almost earth shatteringly mystical about that sign – it is so true, and so powerful, and so amazing, and here we are walking or driving around town, acting as though what has been happening in this area since 1887 is ordinary, when it is actually, sublime.
Education makes huge differences in lives, and even one life can make a difference in one family and community, and changed communities can influence the wider communities . . . every life has the potential to create impressive, and yet still unnoticeable changes. There are those lives who do create noticeable changes. Recently I received a scan of some notes written by Inez Faith Humphrey on “Mrs. Phoebe E. Button (1840-1892)”. This is one life (two if you count her son, Frank along with her, but this was written about Phoebe) of a soul dedicated to changing lives for the better, and doing so through education:
"Sometimes a person’s service is measured, not so much by details remembered or recorded about the person, as by a movement started, the spirit put into the service, and the later results of the movement. Such is the case with Mrs. Phoebe Button.
In 1887, when Rowan County, Kentucky, was so torn by feuds that it was known as 'Bloody Rowan,' Mrs. Button and her son Frank came to Morehead, the county seat, to establish a school for the purpose of building up the spirit of good will that would eradicate the desire for 'feudin’ and fightin’.
From the beginning, Mrs. Phoebe Button had the right idea of teaching students so that they in turn could teach others. At the end of seventeen years the school had prepared three hundred teachers, and the number was increasing."
So now we are in 2017, 180 years later, and the town is buzzing with college students and professors gearing up for a new exciting year, wondering what will be learned, discovered, embraced, experienced in the semesters to come. And this is a miracle which has come from a lot of hard work and dedication of individuals who have hung on to principles and morals, and ethics ~ and then trusted that if we take these steps we will be instruments of grace and truth to the world around us. And I believe that one can have no doubt, that what we do in the faith of goodness and mercy, will bear the fruit, whether we are aware of them or not.
May we walk these streets aware of the awe-inspiring mystery of the love of God, others, and education, and how we are a part of it all.