I think God has given me an interesting life for a reason. I may never fully understand all the whys and wherefores of every exciting thing I have lived through, but I know through to my core that everything I’m going through is very much for a reason.
Some of them I get pretty quickly.
I think becoming a mother unlocked so many deeper understandings of God’s love, and how He could punish us, but still love us; how He could watch us make less than wise choices and still love us- how He could LET us make those choices and still love us; and how everything He did was born out of love even when it doesn’t look or feel or sound like it (ever yelled at your child because you were SO GLAD the thing they did that could have killed them didn’t and you just don’t even know what to do with the intensity of all those feelings, prime among them ‘love’? Yeah.)
Today, on my way back to the staff room, I ran into a few of my weaker French students thrilled that it was the last day of school (for THEM, don’t get me started on the back end we teachers face, with the marking and report cards and parent queries. Sigh). They were so happy to hear I would be teaching them in the next grade up that they did an impromptu dance. “Mrs Graham! We love you SOOO much, you see! You’re our FAVOURITE teacher! We LOVE everything about you, you make us laugh, even when you’re cussing us off! WE JUST LOVE YOU! See you next year!!!” And off they whooped, looking back occasionally to wave at me and clap gleefully.
I stood there dumbstruck. Really? Love me? THEM????
They were the sleepingest, no homeworkingest, effortless-est bunch of girls I have encountered in a while! They??? Love me???
Well! Outside of that tribal display in the hallowed hallways of their failing grades, how on earth would I EVER have know that??? How would ANYONE have known? Anyone passing my classes would have seen me either arguing with any of these girls, or rolling my eyes at their grades, or studiously ignoring their sleeping forms. There would have been NOTHING on the outside of their strange little brains that would have suggested to me or anyone in the whole wide world that I was beloved…not their grades, not their behaviour: NOTHING.
And then another Jesus-Penny dropped.
It’s easy to sit and think that all these things that we think and feel are fine wrapped up tightly and stashed in the darkest corners of our minds and hearts. As long as WE know they’re there, that’s all that matters. But it’s not. If they are real and true thoughts and feelings and beliefs, they should do more than ‘exist’. They should convict and influence us in some way. And those ways, those behaviours, can then have an effect on those around us. Maybe they won’t change them. Maybe the best we can hope for is a challenge to the way they think or view things. But even so, at the very least, they way we act should say something very clear about who we are and what we believe.
Maybe those girls would have never- even with the best of effort- gotten an A. Or even a B. But with a little less sleeping, and a little more “Miss, here’s my homework,” at the very least I would have known that this is a girl who cares and who tries. And that’s a pretty good baseline opinion to have.
I’m hoping to live my strange, weird and wonderful life like that. Maybe I’ll screw up more times than I’ll get it right. Maybe my fails will be a lot more interesting to talk about than my successes. But at the end of the day, I want Jesus to recognize me as a girl who is trying. Trying, trying, trying. And if the people around me can see that too, then maybe I’m getting one or two things right.
Here’s hoping, Interwebs.
Off I go for more marking, more surprises and one more cookie for the night.
Courage is delicious, even at midnight with red-ink stains on everything.