As I walked across the parking lot on Friday, I felt as tired as I’ve felt in a long time.It was a Long week. A very long week. This little period between Halloween and ThanksGiving with full moons and sugar overloads and assessments and staff changes have gotten the best of yours truly. I am dog tired. Teacher tired. A good friend of mine was walking across the other end of the parking lot…and instead of calling out to her, I called her on my phone…We both laughed really hard when I told her I just didn’t have enough energy to yell good bye across the parking lot. She was teacher tired too.
Some days go really smoothly, but Friday was just one of those that felt like I was constantly having to hit ‘rewind’ and say and do the same things over and over again. I had tied shoes and gotten up twenty times to answer “Ms. Halbert” requests. I’d started and stopped lessons and answered the same questions fifty times and said “Look at my eyes” more times than this teacher wants to count. I’ve written in journals and documented on behavior logs and entered passwords in the computer what feels like fifty times. The same ones. No, this week would not be one to be pulled for an example of Effective Teaching. We’ve had lots of transitions and I have some students that are having some challenging times…and the ripples go out to impact us all. I work with special needs students and sometimes the needs seem much more intensive than others. This week I felt the impact big time.
But I’ve had moments of sweetness too.Lots of them. I’ve had to switch from drill sergeant mode to nurse to caretaker and encourager in a heartbeat so many times and, to be honest, I was mostly in drill sergeant mode because of the behavior of a few students and I was so over it. I started getting down on myself because I so don’t enjoy drill sergeant mode. Not a bit. It’s no fun to have to constantly be redrawing boundaries that have been drawn countless times before. But some of us need that…and in order for me to be effective, ugh, I have to be consistent, and that means when the student pushes that boundary, I need to respond consistently… and filter what I can, but, it can just feel pretty exhausting sometimes, especially when you couple that with the desire to help the students really learn and know that the interruptions are keeping us from what I had hoped to be teaching. Vent over.
So, on Saturday morning I was determined to spend some time reading and praying and reboot. I mean, devotions are a part of my morning on most days, but this needed to be an INTENSIVE session for this one. And I kind of smirked at myself as I saw my rambling notes on my agenda. Sometimes I’ve gotta write things just to vent…usually just in a journal, but this time it was even on the calendar. The pen even ran out as I was writing “terrible HORRIBLE, no good, very bad day…”
Anyway, I read lots of great verses, and a few good devotionals and prayed. I was reminded that God has been so very patient with me and as His child, I’ve been the one who has needed the reminders to get back on track. (In the same way that my students have needed boundaries and redirections, I’ve needed His grace more times than I can count. That was a good reminder and helped me see my students’ needs in a whole different light for sure.) . I got a lot done at the house and then I dropped off some projects to the two different shops where I sell some of my bird feeders, etc. It was pouring rain but it was so very beautiful.
I loved the way the reds popped…as I took a few photos, red leaves were falling around me. I was reminded that there are seasons that you just can’t stop. Some things you can’t stop at all and you’ll just get frustrated if you try. Better to just find the beauty in them while you can.
And I did….find the beauty in them, that is. The rain made the colors pop on this quiet walk in the rain.
I dropped off the items at the shop and then ran a few errands and was so looking forward to going home. It was pouring like crazy by this point. But I couldn’t get a friend off my mind, so I decided to stop by hospice to see her and her sister before I went home and I’m so glad I did.
Sometimes the interruptions in a day can be the best thing. I’m so glad I listened to my gut and went to see them. It was about 3:30 on Saturday. Pouring rain. Cold. Dreary. And in the room, the lights were off, and my friend’s precious sister, Annie, was finishing her time her on earth. Her breathing was labored, and she was no longer coherent as she had been a few days before when I had last visited.
Some things are sacred, and sometimes the most ordinary of things are the most sacred… the holding of a hand, the breathing of a prayer, the wiping of a tear, the taking of a breath. The most ordinary of things can be the most sacred when love is in the mix. The tying of a shoe, the logging in on a computer, the repeating of a question…the most ordinary of things can be sacred when love is in the mix… and I needed to be reminded of that. Annie helped me without saying a word.
She passed away at 6:30 that evening. Her sister Susan has been by her side for the journey…and I know that gave Annie so much comfort.
So, on this Sunday night as I anticipate tomorrow with the students and their excitement about the upcoming ThanksGiving Holiday and break, I’m intentionally going to remember that the most ordinary of things matter. I’ll try to breathe in and out and laugh as I tie shoes and try to teach and reteach things , and not count in my brain how many times I’ve said, “Keep your eyes watching and ears listening”, because, well, I’m thinking those eyes are watching and ears are listening. They see and sense things even when we don’t realize they’re watching, and I’m teaching way way more than reading, writing, and math.
Yes, on this Sunday night, I’m going to bed early and thanking God for another day today, and a new day tomorrow. I’m thanking him for a job that so often feels like a ministry and purpose, lots and lots of purpose. I’m thanking God that it is all His, the sacred, and the ordinary…, and asking Him to use the ordinary things to make Himself known to me and those around me. I’m thanking God for breath and life on this side of Heaven, and breath and life on the Other Side and asking Him to help me love well whether my mission be making a turkey or tying a shoe, or praying a prayer. He can use it all because it’s all sacred when held in His hands. Even interruptions. In fact, they might end up being the most sacred of all.
Have a good week, friends ❤
p.s. If you are so inclined, please say a prayer or two for my friend Susan as she grieves the passing of her sister. I so appreciate it.