I am starting to lose steam now. And that’s not good because Will is planning to come over later tonight yet so we can work on a paper for one of his classes. I fell a little behind in my Drama class while we were gone last weekend, so I am making that up this weekend. The professor assigned due dates throughout the term but nothing was actually due until this coming Monday at noon. I’ll get it in. It just takes some work. Fortunately, I stayed on top of things until we did travel. I’m seeing work come in from other students from weeks ago, which makes me wonder how far behind they really are!
I worked 5 days in a row in mid February in the middle school. That’s where I’ve spent most of my sub time this year and I have really enjoyed it. I’m typically in the Level 2 classroom, usually working with a delightful 14 year old who has autism or another one who experiences Downs syndrome. One day I overheard one of the other associates saying to another that this boy I worked with, “really likes Sarah” and that made me feel really good. Although, if he didn’t like me that would not necessarily be my fault, either. Another day when I was in that same room – last month, I think it was – I was informed by another student that I was “ruining her life.” Just doing my job…
I ended up working on Valentine’s Day and the day before the lead teacher (around 30 yrs old) in there commented that he had not come up with any Valentine ideas for his wife yet. He also said he usually doesn’t do anything. I suggested to him that he write her a list of different reasons he loves her and tape it to her bathroom mirror. I told him that if he did that, the paper would last longer than he will. The next morning he walked into the classroom and told me that he did exactly what I suggested – even adding pictures of the two of them – and scored really big with his wife! Hah! It’s nice to be listened to…
Valentine’s Day was a little rougher this year, but I think that’s because my 25th anniversary was rapidly approaching. I was touched by the girls, though. Each of them, on their own, had pestered David to take them shopping prior to the big day with their own money. The night of Valentine’s Lizzie handed me a big heartshaped box of chocolates and proudly told me, “This cost $12.50 plus tax!” And Ellie got me a little sparkly heart shaped pillow. Every night she makes sure it is still in my bed before she had to go to bed. David said he had to steer them away from the huge stuffed animals that stores sell this time of year. I thanked him for that! But, anyway, the girls were sweet. I should probably mention that in the ten days that have passed since Valentine’s I have found the ends bitten off almost every single piece of chocolate and then placed neatly back in the box. I want to blame Ellie, but it might be David! It kind of makes me laugh.
I ended up getting into a conversation recently with Sam about what happens in puberty. I’m really not sure how that came about. I think he asked me what “hormones” are and it went from there. He seemed relieved when I assured him that he will eventually start growing tall, in about 4 years or so. We were talking and he says in amazement, “Oh-h-h! Now I understand why all those 5th grade girls are so tall!” The next day he told me that he had been thinking about our conversation and then exclaimed, “I’m so excited for puberty!” If only moms greeted it with such enthusiasm…
Last night Will gave Sam a haircut and apparently he commented to Sam about the fact that he is starting to grow sideburns. I had not noticed. Sam was so proud of that piece of information!
I am plugging away today on my Drama class. I will definitely get it all in by the due date. Actually, my goal is to have it done tonight. And then this week will be the last week of this term. Which means, I probably should be ordering my books for the new term that starts in another week! So, I’m going to have quite a bit of work to do this week. I also have to clean my house.
We had to find a new tax preparer this year. I called a lady my money guy recommended and she volunteered to drive down to my house and do all our taxes in one shot. So now I have to clean my house. That will be next Saturday.
I was downloading Mandisa’s new song called, “Bleed the Same” about racial harmony when I discovered another song she released a few years ago. I’ve been listening to it lately and I really like the lyrics. It’s called “Broken Hallelujah.” I feel like this has been me the last 5 years – singing in the dark, singing in the pain. I guess I’m reminded of this because this week a friend asked me to jot down some thoughts on surviving trials for a talk she’s giving in a few weeks to a group of church ladies. So I was doing some thinking on this as I prepared some thoughts for her. Anyway, here are the lyrics for “Broken Hallelughah.” You can listen to the song here:Broken Hallelujah
With my love and my sadness
I come before You Lord
My heart’s in a thousand pieces
Maybe even more
Yet I trust in this moment
You’re with me somehow
And You’ve always been faithful
So Lord even now
When all that I can sing
Is a broken hallelujah
When my only offering
Is shattered praise
Still a song of adoration
Will rise up from these ruins
I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise
Is a broken hallelujah
Oh Father, You have given
Much more than I deserve
And I have felt Your hand of blessing
On me at every turn
How could I doubt Your goodness
Your wisdom, Your grace
So Lord hear my heart
In this painful place
I lift my voice
Your Spirit moves
I raise my hands
I reach for You
Anyway, I really like this song.
Lizzie absolutely stunned me this week. You think you know your kids and then they say or do something that makes you stop and realize that whoah – they are totally people, not just these annoying, demanding, and loud short people who live with you.
I ordered water shut-offs this week. This month I had three of them – unusual. One actually jogged over to my house and gave me a check as the water guy was driving up the street to shut his water off – so he got lucky. Within an hour I had a visit from another lady. She’s the kind of person who wears her hard life on her face. You can see poverty and hard living written all over her. But despite that, she seems so nice. She immediately paid me and told me that I could just get the water turned back on whenever it was convenient for me. I told her I could be over in a little bit. When I got there, she had laid out a bathmat so my knees wouldn’t get dirty and cold kneeling on the ground to reconnect the pipe. And then she stood there and chatted with me the entire time I did my work. Nice lady.
Well, the third shut-off I did was for one I have shut off numerous, numerous times. It’s really not that hard to avoid this situation, People! Just pay your bill! And if something came up and you can’t come up with the money, call me. We’ll work something out. But, of course, she never does. She’s gotten so angry with me in the past that she has literally hung the phone up on me. So, she shows up at my house when it’s dark and rainy. She has the money. I tell her that I may get her reconnected in the morning. She proceeds to beg me to come do it that night so she can take a shower and bathe her kids for school. And I waver. I can understand that desire. So, I tell her fine, I’ll be up in a little bit.
After she leaves, I am so angry with myself. Why did I give in? I have been very clear with the residents, in writing, that I will not do reconnections in the dark, on weekends, or in inclement weather. And if they have a dog (she does not) I won’t do it all – they’ll have to wait for me to get the water guy to come back out. It’s not like she was not warned about this imminent shut-off and now I’m supposed to inconvenience myself to go accommodate her. I groused out loud as I stomped around pulling on my coat and finding the bag of water tools. Lizzie looked at me, listening and then said very softely,
“Mom – you’re showing grace to her.”
Just like that, Lizzie stopped my torrent of complaining. I felt so ashamed in that moment. You know, I pray for my little city. As far as I know, we are the only Christians in the entire town. I pray that the residents will see Jesus through our family. I pray that the reason we live here is because someone needs to see God through our family.
So I went in the cold, in the dark, and in the rain to reconnect her water. I want to end this by saying that it was so worth it because this then woman threw her arms around me and wept in gratitude and asked if she could go to church with me the next Sunday.
Not even close.
I had to keep asking her to shine her phone light over the hole. Apparently, she thought I had xray vision and could see down a hole on a rainy dark night. I had to bring my own towel to kneel on. When I stopped to put on my gloves, she audibly sighed in impatience.
I finished and I gently, but firmly told her, “Now, Wendy – I will not do this again. Next time you will have to wait until it’s daylight.” In response, she got in her car and slammed the door.
Good works don’t always produce immediate results. And there does come a time when good works can enable continued bad behavior. You can’t do that. And I’m not going to. But there should always be room for grace.
And that I am going to do.