I have been struck lately by how God is with us in dark and light places. Last week God saw me through a dark place where I’d lost my hope amid stomach woes and regular school stress. I was not left alone when I’d lost my way, as I wrote in last week’s blog.
This week something Mysterious happened that is hard to explain. Light broke through the dark place. Hope snapped back into place and I feel changed. One of the songs we sing in our community has a line, “Oh I have been revived.” That’s what I found myself singing. Last week I was talking early retirement and this week I thought, “Nah, I’m good here, in fact, I think I kind of love this job.”
So what changed? A few things happened last weekend that rekindled hope. For one thing, my dear friends Lyle and Bev and Marilyn all offered me words of hope. “Don’t give up.” “You’re not alone.” “This too shall pass.”
They also let me bend their ears. It wasn’t even so much what they said but that they stayed with me when I felt I was at my worst and listened and told me they were praying for me. In fact, I knew others in my community were praying, as we always do for each other.
The scheduling problem that was giving me grief at work got addressed, at least for now, and that helped too. But I rediscovered the “Why” of my job when I found Love and Spirit bubbling back up in me. Scripture says “When there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18), and I think my inner glasses got a bit of a cleaning up. I’ve heard that when we know the “why” of something, we can do any “how”. I can only say that God answered prayers and reminded me why I am a teacher.
It’s not like every student is easy and without challenges that feel beyond me. It’s not like I am not exhausted and in need of a break and sometimes wonder how I’ll get through another day, especially after the marathons of report writing and parent interviews.
But there’s something else that kicked in again when I started my days with the kids. In the give and take of relating to them and teaching the lessons, I saw that Love flows through all the million interchanges. The same Hope that got rekindled for me is what I pass on, so I know the source is God.
On one day, the Math lesson seemed to come alive and kids began to see the connection between addition and multiplication. Light bulbs were going off and I thought to myself, “Is there a luckier person anywhere than me?” Of course, other light bulbs remained dim, and many lessons are not successful, but even that’s ok. We are all on the spectrum between light and dark in this lifetime and the point is that God doesn’t love any of us less or more. We are all precious. We all belong. God is reaching out for all of us, all the time.
I hesitate to write all this because I know how easy it is for me to lose my way. I know that I will slip back into the darker places again where I’ve lost the vision. I will wonder, “Was I deluded?” Future blog posts will reflect these struggles I am sure, along with God’s answers.
There is a story in the New Testament about someone who finds a treasure hidden in a field. “He is ecstatic – what a find! – and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.” (Matthew 13:44, Message translation)
This story came to mind as I noticed my worries of losing the treasure I’ve rediscovered this week. When I lose my way again, I can remember the treasure which not even moths or rust can destroy (says scripture again), and set out again to find it. I am so blessed to have a community in search of that same treasure, which for us is God and the Christian path. And when I am lost and have forgotten even to look, I remember that God is looking for me constantly.
On Wednesday night, our Mark study group reflected on the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 people. Jesus and the disciples were stressed out and in desperate need of a break. Instead of down time, they were faced with a huge crowd. After Jesus taught, the disciples urged him to tell the crowds to disperse and find food for themselves. But Jesus felt compassion for the crowds and decided to feed them like a good host. The disciples thought it wasn’t possible, but Jesus took what little was offered (5 loaves of bread and two fish), and miraculously changed it into
enough food for 5000.
Our community reflected on the many times when a little became a lot, where God provided for us when it didn’t seem possible. Not just in a physical or financial way, but also by the spiritual or emotional empowerment we have often received in our 25+ years of being together. God is so faithful to us even when we are not entirely faithful to him.
This abundance from God despite meagre human offerings certainly was my experience this week. Faithful friends, prayers heard, restored vision. How else can I explain the revival of my spirit?