Thursday, April 24, 2014

Caring, teaching, dealing

Patience is hard. It's really very hard to practice patience, especially in this world of instant gratification that we live in. I seem to be extremely bad at patience, especially when I don't have all the answers. There are many times in life where I want to be able to Google the answer right then and there and make everything better. Unfortunately, God is not Google. He tells us to be patient and wait on Him.

Quite honestly, I think that's easier said than done. We have microwaves that give us food in far less time than is healthy, we have internet that moves at speeds that get faster and faster every year, we have Google, we have smart phones that are designed to save us time, and every year it seems like some labor-saving, time-saving device is invented that is supposed to make our lives easier and more satisfactory. In a world where we can download songs, pictures, and movies that haven't even been released to the public within minutes, and even seconds, it is extremely hard to be patient.

It also breeds entitlement. If the TV, or my smart phone is going to give me exactly what I want, then why shouldn't my parents, my teachers, my pastor, or even my job? As a teacher I've seen this more and more in the students that I teach. As a wife, I've seen this more and more in myself, expecting Michael to do everything for me, or at least to do what I ask right away. As a child of God, I understand that I've always been impatient and wanted to know the answers to the biggest questions that I don't and probably will never have answers to... (why take my child?)

At every turn I have to fight entitlement and impatience in myself, and then in the people around me, mainly my students. As a teacher I am always telling them "no" or "not now" or asking them to forego things like having music in their ears at all times, having their phone out so they can be on social media or texting friends, or even simply doing what they want when they want to because they can.

There are roughly 1800+ students that go to the high school I teach at, and as a teacher, because I show up every morning, because I plan my lessons, because I cover other teacher's classes, and because I do ISS for 45 minutes every day, I am an integral part of my schools environment. Because of this, every time I get up at 5:30 in the morning (or earlier) and get ready for work, I am telling the students at my school that I care about every single one of them, if even in some very small aspect. As a teacher investing in the lives of my students, I have to care or no progress is made. It's very easy to go to another job and work without caring about it (I know because I've had other jobs!), but with teaching, it's a heavy emotional responsibility. Especially when I look at some of the kids in my school who have this "entitlement complex" and expect everything to be handed to them on a platter and I wonder if they're even going to make it outside of high school. Is the 17 year old freshman who never goes to class, but sleeps instead, going to make it even to flipping burgers at a local hamburger joint? And yet, because I'm in the building doing my job, I'm investing part of my life into that 17 year old freshman, without knowing how he's going to turn out or even succeed.

And let's not talk about the students who have violent histories, who will explode on you simply because you asked them to put their phone away, or the student whose abusive boyfriend is taking over her life, or the student whose rich parents aren't actually parenting but simply throwing money at their "problem" and hoping it goes away, or the student whose parents are so poor that they have to work 3 jobs to pay for the iPhone and the designer sneakers and have no time to spend making sure their child isn't in trouble or are getting decent grades.

So, I teach because I care, or I care because I teach. I can't decided. I know this post started out as a comment on patience, instant gratification, and entitlement, and has now turned into an explanation about what I as a teacher have to deal with day in and day out, but honestly, it all amounts to the same thing. If you as a person are investing in the lives about people around you, don't you want their lives to be as meaningful and successful as possible? Every time you invest you have to care about something, even if you don't consciously realize that you care. That's why as a teacher you can't leave your work at work. Even if you leave all those papers you need to grade at work, the students you affect come home with you. Even while on spring break I was thinking about my students and the things that I wanted to share with them when I got home.

Needless to say, society is going somewhere, and I'm not sure that I like going with it in a certain direction. Entitlement, instant gratification, and dealing with people has always been a problem. Ecclesiastes is very clear that there is nothing new under the sun. At least I know that that has never changed. This is just my first time fully realizing and dealing with it.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Color of Miscarriage during Easter

Lately everything has been colored by my miscarriage. Everything. In the past two months I've done so much that feels like it would be different if not for Alexandra. She's not here anymore, but she has left a mark on my heart.

Easter Sunday is tomorrow. Even Easter has changed for me. I chose to forget in my grief over losing my small, tiny child that God knows, really knows, what it's like to lose a child too. I assumed that God in his infinite-ness couldn't know what it is like to lose a child.

But here at Easter, I am forcibly reminded that the all powerful, good, loving God knows not only what it is to lose a child, but what it is to sacrifice his child for those who hate Him as well.

I should, if I were a selfless person, be relieved that Alexandra didn't have to live more that 4-6 weeks inside of me in this broken world. She, instead, gets to spend the rest of forever in God's arms, possibly running the streets of gold. She gets to spend time in a place that has no more pain or suffering and is in the very presence of God. (He is the light of Heaven!) And yet, I, as a selfish person, couldn't easily let her go. I still want her here with me. I would have her experience life in a world that hates God, just so I could hold her.

God loves so much better than I do. Instead of selfishly keeping his Son to Himself, He sends Him to this broken, hateful world to die for His enemies, one of which was me. I can't willingly let Alexandra go to God's arms, which is an infinitely better place than here, and yet God willingly killed His Son for His enemies. What unfathomable love and mercy is this? I used to think I knew all about love, but now, I have a hard time grasping just how DEEP Divine love can be.

O, the deep, deep love of Jesus,
vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean,
in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me,
is the current of Thy love.
Leading onward, leading homeward,
to thy glorious rest above.

O, the deep, deep love of Jesus,
spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth,
changeth never, nevermore.
How he watches o'er his loved ones,
died to call them all His own.
How for them he intercedeth,
watcheth o'er them from the throne!

O, the deep, deep love of Jesus,
love of every love the best.
'Tis an ocean full of blessing,
'tis a haven giving rest.
O, the deep, deep love of Jesus,
'tis a heaven of heavens to me;
and it lifts me up to glory,
for it lifts me up to Thee!


Post Script, I do want to mention, that Jesus would not have had to come to die if the world, through Adam and Eve, had not sinned and fallen so very, very short of the glory of God. Every one reading this, whether you agree or not, has at some point sinned and that in itself was cause for Jesus to come. I have sinned so often, that even as a Christian, I still need Him and His death on the bloody, brutal cross each day. How great is God's love that, even while I was still His enemy, in rebellion and sin against Him, He sent His Son to die an awful death for me.