Even through the difficult days, I know that meeting students where they were at, caring for them as they were, encouraging them to be themselves, all of it mattered. It is the students I will miss the most.
That even in the midst of endings there is still the hope and excitement that accompanies beginnings. At times the changes have felt a lot like leaving a portion of my heart, with the memories attached, to specific buildings, schools, jobs. But, isn’t that part of life? That we leave a little footprint behind on all of the places we go. And yet, there always seems to be enough left to begin again.
So now I watch for them, my little unexpected moments of joy where my face hurts from so much smiling and the mess-free glitter flies around me. I no longer take them for granted. The ordinary moment that is filled with joyful power no longer gets left as ordinary, but I capture it in my mind for rainy day remembering.
Three-year-olds get a bad rap sometimes. Granted, for good reason, they are often dramatic, defiant, loud, and unpredictable. However, as I reflected on some of the traits of my little girl, I started to flip my perspective and consider all the positive aspects of three. I thought of the times that I have watched her in awe and I began to wonder what my life would be like if I took on some of the positive characteristics of my three-year-old daughter.
The black dot analogy connects to many of my life experiences. Specifically, the reality that parents and kids often remember experiences differently. It seems that moms are often harder on ourselves than our kids are on us. It makes me wonder, are kids somehow able to keep their focus on the whole page while parents struggle to see beyond the dot?
I thought to myself, this game stinks. I literally looked all over the house for hidden toys, aided solely on random, vague clues from a four year old, was laughed at, forgotten about, and then after finally finding the lost toy…nothing. Later, as I reflected on the game, I was struck by some of the similarities the game had to the fears I was trying to articulate about my faith journey. Especially recently, as I’ve faced several major life transitions, I have been a little bit stuck in fear and questions over what is supposed to happen next.
For Christians to suggest that doubt prevents success or God’s will from being fulfilled would imply that doubt doesn’t coexist with faith, or that somehow our human doubt is stronger than our God. I disagree. I like to think that faith, even faith with doubt, is much more about connecting with God, being the hands and feet of Jesus, and letting our lights shine to those around us.
When I hear procrastination described as simply “delaying” a necessary task, it implies a sense of calm, as if the decision was somehow a logical choice to simply complete a task later. However, how I experience procrastination is less of a calm, logical choice and is definitely more of a chaotic jumble of responsibilities careening around my mind in a twisted path, all requiring immediate action. Of course, procrastination takes place in a headspace where logic is not involved and instead meaningless tasks take precedence over whatever responsibility I am desperately avoiding.
Here’s my end-of-January message: If your New Year’s goals have already found themselves in a slump, it is okay, you are already awesome, today, just as you are.
Happy New Year and cheers to our first Unexpected Ever Afters blog post of 2022! To close out the past year and start anew, we thought we’d do something a little different: a joint post sharing gratitude for 2021, excitement for 2022, and a toast to the New Year. We are excited to share our memories, stories, and hopes with you. We hope you join with your own toast to 2022!