It’s a name straight out of the Good Book, and she is staying at our house this week. It’s Christmas break from college stress, from flatlands, from busyness.
I’m half-sick with sinus infection, so I’ll take all the Rebecca-time I can get.
Rebecca is calm and adds no pressure. Easy to talk to, easy to listen to, a quick thinker. And she whips up mean chocolate-chip pancakes in no time flat.
No way to avoid sickness or pain in this world.
We all know this. No way to avoid it unless we avoid love. Well, I’m not doing that.
Yesterday, Rebecca and I talked about college.
Her memories of her first week, my memories of my first week. We both declared it to be “another world” unto itself. Plenty of suffering and pain and worries there. Nothing like high school, nothing like the working world.
Rebecca is a sophomore.
She thought Nursing would be her major, but her joy, she found this past summer, was in working with kids at camp. So, for her, no more suffering through nursing classes.
She made a U-turn.
Took Elementary Ed classes this past semester. Her voice lifts and her smiles grow like a crescent moon when she speaks of a project.
Kids. They need people with heart, people like her.
Rebecca is owned by Christ. Everyone in her presence feels her love. What a gift she’ll be to children.
Good teachers. So many kids are looking for good teachers (without really knowing they’re looking)—looking for good models, safe people to teach them, to show them, to help them.
Happily, they are out there, making things okay.
I’m thinking about the teachers I had in school, in college. How can I tell you? Beyond blessed. What I remember now are kind faces. I know I learned important things from them, but what overrides all of it was a touch on the shoulder, desire for order, their ways of caring.
I didn’t know it then, but they were little miracles in my pocket.
Sure, they were paid to be there, but they were not paid to smile. They smiled anyway.
And this past week, I was with grandchildren. The two boys talked on and on about this one male teacher. Obviously, they love and respect him. Not only does he make learning fascinating, but he has firm boundaries and high expectations.
Good teaching and love are out there somewhere for all kids. If they are not getting it one place (home, Grandma’s, the neighbor’s), it’s still there at the gas station, grocery check-out, or friend’s mom or dad. The goodness is in another place. Those kids who need a smile will find it in the bus driver or cafeteria lady. They know it when they see it, feel it.
Thank you, teachers in and out of the classroom. I love you now, I loved you then, but I don’t think I told you.
My husband’s teacher is Dave. If he struggles at work, Dave shows him another way. One of my teachers (I still have many) is Alathea. If I can’t figure out about location of a poem in a manuscript or how to manage a photo or spreadsheet, I ask her for help. If any friend has a better recipe, I ask if she’ll share.
Most people are happy to share if we will ask them for help.
But how many years did it take me to learn that one thing?
The old year is leaving us. There’ll be things we must leave behind. Things to forgive and let go of. (I beg you to not take them into the new year. They will hurt your future. Just tell God He can have them and you’ll deal with the outcome. That is it. That easy. Scary but easy.)
The New Year holds the vulnerable future: Rebecca’s future, my future. your future.
And the best news is that God wants to walk it with us. Invite Him to lead the way. Everything is going to be okay. He is in control, and that is good.
I thank you for walking with me through the year of 2017!
God bless each of you as 2018 unfolds.
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Books, photographed by Rebecca Bland in Norfork, Arkansas, December 30, 2017.