Thursday, January 29, 2015

January Slump

My old friend,

          is a new teacher.

We haven't actually talked in a good 25 years, but I see her occasional posts online.

I've enjoyed following her excitement of mid-life graduation, nerve churning interviews, and the giddy anticipation of a new job, a new year, a classroom all her own.

It's been a couple of years now, maybe a little more.  My own life has spiraled along in its own round of classes and names and challenges, and it's hard to remember exactly how long ago she started.

Long enough, anyway, to move beyond the newbie confidence at the end of a long week of:
"I'll figure it out and get it right next time,"

to the winter slump of:
"Am I really cut out for this?"

It's January.

Nobody's cut out for this.

It's the time when we sit around at lunch counting the years to retirement.
When we struggle to remember those first long ago classes that we're sure never acted like this.
When we gaze in despair at lackluster papers and wonder if we've taught a thing all year.

It's cold,

it's dark,

it's endlessly gloomy.

The occasional tease of a lovely day, makes it almost worse when it all crashes back again.

So, are you cut out for this?

Yes, of course you are.

The question alone is the cry of how much you care.

The sun will come back,

The days will warm,

The children will shock you with a sudden insight, that proves they were listening all along.

You'll know that this is your life,

when you can't believe you get paid to do this in September...

and nobody could pay you enough to do it in January...
but you do it anyway

Because these are your kids.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Heavenly Rewards

Do not be afraid, Abram,
I am your shield;
your reward will be very great.
Genesis 15:1

What visions would dance in the minds of someone given that offer today?  A very great reward.  A bank account over flowing with cash?  A shiny hot-shot car? Mansions, and yachts, and vacation homes?  

I'm not even sure how any of that would translate into a prehistoric world.  Certainly nothing of the kind seemed to be on Abram's mind.  

In utter confusion, he couldn't even imagine what kind of reward he could receive since he had no child.  

Children, family, a sparkling night sky expanse of descendants; that was the worthy reward.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Promised Land

Get up,
and walk around the land,
through its length
and width,
for I will give it to you.
Genesis 13:17

Prying a student from her favorite seat is like tugging at a rubber band.  It's not even really so much that she wants to sit next to her friend, although, of course, that's part of it.  It's just this insatiable tug of habit.  It's natural, it's comfortable, it's where she feels she belongs.  The resistance vibrates within her for days, before she finally settles in.  

Life itself, becomes a luxurious prison.  We surround our selves with what has always been.  We tunnel through habits of space and routine.  It's comfortable, it's where we feel we belong.  We never even look to see what's out there, much less get up and walk around.  

What would it mean to get up, even just once a day?  What would I see if I looked, if I walked around an unfamiliar land and cherished as a gift.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Prayer Chain

My sister-in-law is learning to crochet.

Loop by loop,
          a baby's blanket,
                              thick and soft and warm,

flows beneath her hook.

A hope,
     A prayer,
          A promise, 

For our tiny new-born nephew,
     And his topsy- turvy heart.

A vision unfurling,

                               of clutching fingers,
                                    of baby giggles,
                                                                 of peaceful nurturing sleep

A tangible expression of rock-solid faith,

     In the One who guides the surgeon's touch,

                    Who gently untangles 
                                    every wayward strand.