Thursday, January 27, 2005

I've been thinking, and I think I want to try something a little different here. If you know me well you know that I love quotes... I have hundreds of them tucked away. I'd love to share some of my favorites. Shannon does a "thought of the day", I suppose his are mostly his own thoughts... I guess I'm not that creative. We'll see how well I can keep up... if my ambitions are bigger than my drive.

Anyway, tonight was my small group night and we have just started a book called Relationships by Les and Leslie Parrott. The book is great so far. The first chapter started with this thought... I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

"If we try to find intimacy with another person before achieving a sense of identity on our own, all of our relationships become an attempt to complete ourselves."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A job is just a job... until it feels like this

Do you ever come home from work just thinking "I'm not cut out for this" or "I can't do this anymore"? That's how I felt leaving the building today. I haven't felt that way in awhile. Things have just gotten overwhelming. I have jumped into a deeper kettle of fish than I ever could have imagined.

Some of you know that I started work at the elementary school the first week of January only to have my student transfer schools after my first week there. I then spent a week kind of floating, and now I have started working with the first grade boy that I worked with for September and October.

I was excited about having the opportunity to work in this situation with this boy again because I had a good relationship with him, his class, and his teacher. It feels good to be wanted and loved, and that's just how his class makes me feel.

Sounds all hunky dory eh? Wondering where the despondency comes in? Well, now we have to look at the reason I was called back in to work with my boy. You see, he's an explosive child, and these last few weeks have been his worst yet. Not only has he been physically agressive (hitting, biting, kicking) with his classmates, but last Friday he punched the teacher in the nose - HARD. Talk about unsafe behavior! So this week he's spent his days in the quiet room with me, on in school suspension. This has meant that instead of throwing things around his classroom I get to be the sole recipient of his outbursts.

Today we had a meeting with his parents (actually grandparents), mother, teacher, guidance counselor, discipline facilitator, and Student services coordinator. I left the meeting with those feelings of inadequacy that I expressed at the beginning of the post. His mother and grandmother fought over custody issues while we discussed whether he needed a psychiatric or psychological evaluation more. The boy is in serious trouble. Something is going on there. The whole thing just makes me sad. Sad and worried. He's only 6. If he's like this when he's 6 what is he going to be like when he's 12? 18? And this is where I come in. I'm expected to be helping the situation. I just don't know... I don't feel like I am doing anything for him... or even really that there is anything that I can do for him. I don't have a degree in special ed or behavioral science... why would they hire an unqualified person like me??? I just have to keep reminding myself that being a stable presence in his life is helping no matter what and all I can do is keep loving him.

For those of you who do know some things about education, about kids... if you have any thoughts on the situation or about explosive children, please... I could use all the help I can get!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Am I Desperate? I Wish I Was...

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence, living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word, spoken to me

And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm lost without you

Worship is supposed to be a time when we engage our minds as well as our hearts right? Today was one of those days for me, when my mind was most definitely engaged. We sang this song this morning and with each line, each repetition more and more thought kept racing through my head.

This is a song that most of us have sung more times than we can count. It's been around for awhile and has consistently been one of the top worship choruses out there. There have been times when it has topped my list of favorites. We all know the words, but I wonder how often we think about them? Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing this song at all, I think it's beautiful, but it just makes me think...

I'm wondering about desperation. I wonder how many of us really are desperate for the Lord? I think that more of us WANT to be desperate, but we aren't. We WANT to want him, but we don't, not in the desperate way that we sing about. I wonder if Marie Barnett was actually desperate, hungry, and lost when she penned these words or if she merely wanted to be in that state? Or are they just words?

So if we are in the place of WANTING to be wanting (I freely admit that's where I am) how do we move to really wanting? What clicks in us to say that we really want him, what makes us that hungry. The song compares him to our daily bread. He is supposed to be the bread of life, that's accurate, but is he really our daily bread? Do we depend on him for sustenance the way we do food? A woman I know just attempted a 40 day fast. She made it about half way before she was too ill to continue not eating solid food. Would it honestly affect us that much if we were to go on a 40 day "God fast"? I'm certainly not recommending that to anyone, just thinking. What about air? When you can't breathe you're terrified, panicked, you can think of nothing else but filling your lungs with air. Are we that desperate for the Lord? Somehow I doubt it...

LOST is one of my new favorite shows, I'm completely addicted. Jack, Charlie, Kate, Locke and the others are exerting every effort to find a way to surivive the tragedy that has befallen them. They have fallen from the sky and out of civilization. They know that they are lost, that they have no hope except to keep doing all they can. I think all Christians pretty aware of the fact the we would be lost without Christ, but would we really be lost? Would we have that same desperate resolve and panic that gripped the cast of LOST? We know we would be lost, but I wonder how lost we'd really feel...

The Lord commands all of these reactions from us... not in a verbal command, but his very being commands this kind of reaction from us. I don't think that we follow through, at least not very many of us very often. And this brings me back to the original question... how can we move beyond? How do we go from wanting to want to really wanting?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Getting Settled in Elementary School (or, fifth grade boys drive me crazy!)

Yesterday I finished my first week as an official school employee. There were challenges for sure... moments of triumph on occasion, but definitely challenges.

High Points
- getting one of those teacher plan books... oh did I feel grown up and official :)
- explaining telling time and he really understood it... and even got excited!
- sitting next to my first grade teacher in the teachers room and actually feeling like a peer
Low Points
- hearing him say "I'm moving! Then I won't ever have to see Ms. Lapan again!"
- recess duty every day in the freezing cold and snow and ice
- hearing the accounting officer in central office say "I don't even have a hire form for you, are you sure you've been hired?"

This week was up and down for a number of reasons, and all in all just a little rough. I'm hoping next week will go much more smoothly. First of all we have a full week with no interruptions (provided we don't have another snow day) that's got to help with the flow of the week. And of course, he's getting a little more used to me and I'm getting more used to him and our schedule. It's a lot to get adjusted to!

While I like working in the school alright so far... don't anyone be looking for a change of plan from me any time soon. I have no intention of working in education again after this... no matter how many times a day I get asked when I'm getting my teaching certificate!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Little Bit of Catch Up (but not ketchup... I HATE that stuff!)

I realize that it has been forever since I last posted... I guess the holidays were busier for me than I thought they would be.

If I have progressed enough in the blog realm to actually have regular readers they are probably wondering the outcome of my last post. I said that I would fill you in and it's taken me a super long time to do that, but here goes... Oh, but first, thank you to all of you who gave me your opinions on the matter... it was good to hear some different perspectives.

Amid shouts and fighting back tears my mother and I left our home Christmas Eve and spent a few hours at church and visiting my grandmother. I cried almost the whole way there, but once I was there I really felt like I should have been there. I didn't regret my decision, even if it made things tense and loud.

This is how I looked at it: things at my house are almost always tense and loud. If I lived my life around trying not to set off my dad, I wouldn't really live my life. If you know me you know that I'm not one to sit back and keep my opinion to myself. Christmas might have been more peaceful if I had chosen to stay home, but then again it might not have been. There is always something to set him off. The other piece that I had to consider is that Christmas Eve isn't just about going to church in my family. Yes, it is going to church, yes it is a celebration of the birth of Christ... but more than that, it's about family.

Picture it, Sicily... ok, not Sicily, I just like saying that :) The church is small, it maybe seats 60 people, the clock ticks loudly, the furnace burns warmly, the candles flicker brightly. You think you couldn't squeeze another person in there if you tried, but there always ends up being room for a few more. The service is about the birth of a Savior, but it's about the life of a community too. The pastor preaches there just a few times a year, when there is a baby to be baptized, a few times in the summer, and this night. A chunk of time in the middle of the service is dedicated to catching up, praising the Lord for the blessings of the year past and lifting up to him the worries. In that tiny room, and later in the evening at my grandmother's I am surrounded by family and friends, some that I don't see any other time of the year. You never really know how the service is going to run, I guess it kind of goes in a "fly by the seat of your pants" kind of manner, but somehow that makes it even more special. If you have something to share, this is your chance. Myrna always has a poem to read that she's worked on all year. The Buttolph girls who have travelled from PA have a beautiful song to share, and then John will ask anyone else who wants to share to come on up. It's far from perfect, and usually punctuated by giggles and a few shakes of the head, but it's real.

Maybe I'm selfish for wanting to be a part of that, but I don't think so. I agreed with most of what was said in the comments. I know that I can't be a witness to my father if I'm not there and if I'm only serving to make him angry. I also recongize that celebrating Christmas by going to church doesn't amount to a hill of beans if you're only going because you feel like it's your duty. But from my perspective, I think I did the right thing. He's over it, he was over it in a few days, but I got to celebrate with a community, to be a part of a family, to participate in something that I really believe blesses the heart of the Lord.