It has been an incredibly long time since I blogged and honestly it’s not for lack of thoughts or happenings in my life but really more about time, not really feeling much like sharing and maybe just giving the whole blog thing a break when more important things need to be focused on. However, this week has been interesting. Full of inner turmoil and so many thoughts in my head. If you are reading this, I guess I did decide to share it but there is a small part of me that wants to keep it for myself because not everything has be shared publicly right and it’s an unfinished, unanswered part of my life journey?! But we share so we can learn, share so we can support each other, share so others may know they are not alone in how they feel, or share for the sake of making a difference.
One of the things I’ve shared via this blog is my desire to teach in the public system (you can read that one here). When I wrote that post I had in fact been in a public school for the period of my practicum and I had the opportunity to get to know my class, as well as a number of other kids at the school. As is to be expected each student came from a different place, they each had a story. For some that story was idealic and they entered the classroom with the cares you would expect of their age, light as feathers and blissful ignorance to what life can do to people. Others entered with a trail of suitcases in which they carried burdens so heavy, even an adult would buckle under the strain of dragging them on a journey. I think for the most part I saw the ones that dragged but I was so inwardly focused, trying to put into place my career that I couldn’t really identify with them. My compassion was held at bay so I could cope with the stress that comes with being a student teacher. You might wander if I regret not being able to access this part of the teaching experience in my practicum year but honestly after this week I am so thankful that my heart was protected because I’m really not sure I could have handled it.
This last week has given me the smallest of glimpses into what my Heavenly Father must see when he looks into this broken world and I can say with certainty that I know what a broken heart feels like. In my more recent experiences, in my personal life, I’ve felt the deepest of grief but this week was a different type of deep, deep heartache.
It started with a sweet little face! A beautiful, precious jewel of a girl that reminded me in so many ways of my sweet Annie. Her sadness was fleeting as I encountered her entering the gym and as is true to form of the resilient, youngsters she joined in with a smile on her face for most of the PE class. But the moment I saw her sadness and her classroom teacher shared one little sentence with me of her life outside school my heart broke. I sucked back my tears for the morning but left after my last class for the day and the tears would not be stopped. For the whole week I have seen her face in my mind’s eye or encountered her at school briefly and for some reason cannot keep my eyes from tearing up.
I have spoken to a few people about how I feel. Sadness, disappointment, hurt! I keep coming back to not understanding how, as human beings we do things to each other that create cycles of dysfunction in society. In each conversation I have I am slowly uplifted…”you get to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these little ones”, “God puts you in the place he needs you to be. Hard or not.” I AM thankful for the choice I have made but I think part of my sorrow comes from knowing this is the first of many little ones who will get into my heart and touch the deepest part of my soul and will show me the great anguish God must feel as he sees the hurt of his creation. I want to help her but I know that her circumstance is not unlike many that children face. It’s not nearly as horrific as what some face but, it doesn’t come close to being as whole and complete as one’s childhood experience should be. So I go about my days and when her little face enters my thoughts, I pray! I do only what I know to do when I feel helpless. I ask for her to be protected, that her basic needs be met, that she experience true, unconditional love in a small way each and every day. I PRAY that God will give me a chance to show that to her, that he will allow me the privilege of helping her see her innate worth.
And then I listen to this song, You are the Only One, to remind me that I can only feel a teeny sliver of love for this child in comparison to the vast ocean of love that her Creator already feels for her. I hear the words and am reminded that He is the only one who can bring healing and wholeness, to the many lives that I will encounter over the course of the next many years. I am reminded that I will be brought to my knees again and again feeling sad, helpless and discouraged because we live imperfection. I am reminded that while it may be hard and my heart may hurt many times over but that God will use me to be his hands and feet and to stand for the least of these. I am reminded that I can shine a light in darkness and then leave the rest in His capable hands because he is the Only One!