Thursday, May 31, 2007

So It Finally Hit Me . . .

It's easy to be strong when the kids are around
that mother hen instinct to be the calm one
play it safe, do a head count, and distance your self
so they can be free and true to the moment
knowing someone has the job of the lookout
but then this afternoon, packing up
it finally hit me
that ice ball in the throat
couldn't be swallowed anymore
so it melted into a puddle of tears
on my poor excuse for a desk
and that weird blubbering that makes people uncomfortable
good thing it's just You and me in this room
and it's getting really hard to see the rest of my checklist
Lord, I'm going to miss these kids so much it's beyond poetry
their contagious smiles
their original silliness
their honest brokenness
their failures that roll into determination
their victories that explode into celebration
their eyes searching for love and answers
their hearts ,
whether hidden in their stories or worn on their sleeves
they are beautiful
I can almost see how much fun You had making them
just being around them was a blessing
as I try to sniff away the blubbering and breath
I give it all to You
the day to day joy of knowing them
loving them and listening
the privilege of having a classroom and a stage
that these prescious souls could
grace with their unique, gifted, amazing presence
like everything else in my life
they were just on loan from You
thanks for letting me borrow them for a while
I just pray that I return them
in better condition than I found them
a few delicate touch ups
some dust wiped away
or even better
with an echo of my voice
whispering some awareness of You.

"You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I'm about to burst with song; I can't keep quiet about you. God, my God, I can't thank you enough." Psalm 30:11

"The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say 'The children are now working as if I did not exist.'" -Maria Montessori

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

So Long, Farewell...

Things I will not miss about teaching:
1. Grading essays! (I'd rather have bamboo shoots up my fingernails, but that wasn't in the job description.)
2. Adults who hate teenagers (This would be like me deciding to be a snake charmer. I don't like snakes, therefore, no weird flute and basket for me. Seriously, find a cubicle job . . . on a tropical island... or better yet,find a job that will make you truly happy! These kids have enough people yelling at them, they don't need to add you to their list.)
3. junk mail
4. my favorite question from the students; "Why do you always make us do stuff?", my second favorite: "Can we watch a movie today?"
5. e-mails with the subject line: "reminder"

Things I will miss terribly:
1. the kids (Lord, keep them safe, bless them with confidence, peace, and hope, and send them another teacher who might model Your love for them.)
2. those hidden smiles from under the "I'm too cool for school" looks
3. friendships with other teachers (sometimes just the silent looks of I don't know what to do with them either . . .)
4. the total unpredictability of day to day life with teenagers (like when Shardrieka was caught combing the hair of her imaginary friend Penelope)
5. holding on to the dream of bringing You back in the public schools
6. that "I can't believe I really just did that- I didn't think I could do that" look.
7. set building and design alongside the most artistic teenage minds in history
8. opening nights
9. cast parties
10. did I mention the kids?

As I say goodbye to an era and a dream,
my mind is spinning in the midst of peace.
Will they be okay?
Will I be a little voice in their head?
And then I remember that You were their biggest fan
long before they even entered my classroom
or stepped onto the stage.
So I will sigh, say so long, farewell,
and on Friday
lock my classroom door one last time.

“The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me — to tell people the Good News about God's grace.” Acts 20:24

"But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I'm not about to let his grace go to waste. Haven't I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others? Even then, my work didn't amount to all that much. It was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 (MSG)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gossip 101

sometimes I feel like I’m sittin’ in the back of Gossip 101
a class we’re all in, that sneaky sin that grins
as we sip our coffee
the required course of human nature
where so and so and what’s his name
become the shamed so we can proudly claim the fame
of a well-told story
Once upon a time, a man in his prime of the corporate climb
left the office and never came back.
a simple water-cooler walk, they squawk, and they talk
as if they have the mystery solved.
“Haven’t you heard? A little bird
told me all about it!
He fell for the girl in sales with the pony tail
and the skirts too short, if you ask me.”
Did I ask?
“No, he carried a flask and had a drinking problem.
His secretary said he couldn’t think unless he a had a drink.
And bless her, she just couldn’t stop him.”
Speculations fly, his actions imply, e-mail replies on the sly
‘cuz absence makes the tales grow longer
Even after work, elementary PTA’s compare GPA’s
which kid will make the grade, no time for play
in the race to finish first.
Potluck dishes, compliment fishes, the wife just wishes
she brought the cup that will measure up
to the arm-folding, eyeball-rolling,
purse-slinging, diamond-ringing world of women
Don’t get me wrong
I understand the world of man
isn’t that much better
Like puppeters they joke and sneer
with labels and scarlet letters
deadbeat dads or ivy league grads, oh, that’s so sad,
then they roll away sittin’ a little higher in their shiny SUV’s.
Teacher, can I get a schedule change? This class is strange.
Information exchange like a rifle range,
and who knows who will be the next target?
Or maybe the shooter is me, as I open up my eyes and see
this mirror of truth in front of me.
But man, it’s drivin’ me insane
this stupid wash of the brain
in this honey world of gossip
where lies on lips stick to finger tips
and leave messy fingerprints that aren’t easily washed away.
so teacher, I’m walkin’ out of this class.
Cuz, I know what it takes to do my best and pass the test
So stamp it on the paper,
cuz I will proudly take my F.

Lord, thank you for teaching me the value of others and the truth of a harmful story.

"A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret."
Proverbs 11:13

"A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends."
Proverbs 16:28

"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts."
Proverbs 18:8

"Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down."
Proverbs 26:20

"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts."
Proverbs 26:22

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dancing Cheek to Cheek

we all marvel at Your unexpected moments
even after reading Matthew
the same stories remained Ziploc fresh
in Mark, Luke, and John
all pointing to Your love for those who hurt You
"turn the other cheek" You said
but the words became a song
when You danced with Grace
in those last few days
thank you for teaching me the steps
as I called out to You
in the suffering of sandpaper people
lashing out in their own personal pain
with me as an easy target
but I let their sandpaper grow
into the blades of sleepless nights
like moss at the edge of a swamp
or mold in the back of the refridgerator
help me to stop M&Ming the pain
with a thin candy-coated smile
Tonight, I give them to You
so I can finally get some rest,
offer the left cheek
still feeling the sting on the right
and dream of You and I
dancing cheek to cheek

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

"But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." Matthew 5:39

"Forgiveness is not a feeling or forgettting, or even reconciliation. It is a choice we make over and over again, and it has the potential to change everything." Rob Wegner

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Red Carpet

What is it about the red carpet?
walks become struts
smiles evolve to grins
and beauty is magnified
and all because of the idea of importance
from underneath their feet
Who defines star quality?
when botoxed out
and lyposucked in
private jet hamptons
step from limosines
we all cheer and long for their success
but You redefined beauty
made everyone a star
and loved us all with acadamy awards
of Your love and strength
a night of celebration
and I'm reminded
the real red carpet
comes from You
their creator
their personal paparazzi
best friend and loving father
all rolled into one big
red carpet

"Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love."
Ephesians 1:4a (Msg)

"It is indeed a love story that ties in the beginning of the universe to the end of all days in a fabulous drama ... and YOU are one of the main characters. So if anything that had MY name on it ever made you feel less than magnificent . . . that wasn't real. You are one of the main characters in the story because I made you and I love the way I did it and... I can't get you outta my mind." from "God's Blogs" by Lanny Donoho

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Chasing the Wind

like a road sign missed
or a slow moving antidote
I can't figure out exactly when
You helped me stop chasing the wind
when pursed lips and sighs through the nose
punched others like a timeclock
and the ship of reason tossed and turned
on the waves of the swirling sea of checklists
when measuring up and spiraling down
became the dance of sanity
and then You came along
just waiting to hear four simple words
four difficult words for most modern women
"I need Your help"
old habits die hard
but Your breeze blew in the window
the Martha Mary spectrum is changing
and the villian has been unveiled
like conversations suddenly heard
in a room with a crooked painting
playground visits can happen
even when the laundry isn't done
laughter comes before the joke
peace enters before a quiet moment
and love parades despite the weather of circumstance
and it's all because of You

"Perfectionism is a way of being in control; if I can control my environment, I can protect myself from pain and disappointment. Let God be God. He alone is perfect. It's one of the reasons why we worship Him and not ourselves. Artists who strive for perfection are chasing the wind." Rory Noland, The Heart of the Artist

"One of the most shocking contradictions in the American church is the intense dislike many disciples of Jesus have for themselves. They are more displeased with their own shortcomings that they would ever dream of being with someone else's . They are sick of their own mediocrity and disgusted by their own inconsistency." Brennan Manning, Abba's Child

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on, to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." Phil 3:12

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down . . .

How do you rebuild a bridge that's been burned?
grieving in the ashes since October
on that crisp day when I had to be the grown up
caught between the boulders of
consequences and empathy
strattling the line between
leadership and love
teetering on the edge of
discipline and grace
like a squirrel on a high wire
all the while looking to You
for the answers
juggling until I dropped one
the effects should have been simple
quick pain like tearing off a band-aid
the scab would heal, and we would move on
instead the pain spread like an oil spill
and she was just trying to swim
and keep her head above water
Lord, the ashes may be too scattered to recover
the bridge may never be rebuilt
but wherever You lead her
after the tassle turns
and the diploma goes into storage
bless her with Your peace
may her talent, her passion
her strong will and unending potential
add beauty to this world
and bring glory to You
her creator, her friend,
and the only teacher
who will never let her down.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 cor 4:8-9