Greetings my friends! It feels good to be back writing again. Thoughts are always swirling around in my head waiting to be put on these pages. The challenging part for me is finding that quiet time without interruptions where I can actually sit down and compose a complete sentence …or three and turn it into a blog.
As many of you know, I’ve had quite the life transformation this past year. A new marriage and a complete career change are a couple of items in this transformational stage. I find myself more disorganized, exhausted and scattered than I’ve been most of my life and for a person who finds sanity within structure, this can be unnerving!
Despite all of these changes and my new found chaotic life, I’ve had time to really contemplate my decisions. These reflections usually take place while I’m in the shower, shampooing my hair or as I stare out of my bedroom window at 3:00 AM willing myself back to sleep before my alarm clock begins to chime. What is it that I’m thinking? For many months it was a simple yet powerful thought, “Did it really matter”?
Did it really matter that I spent more than 20 years fighting monumental, established systems so that kids in a hospital setting could get equal access to education? Did it really matter that I spent hours upon hours preparing documents and persuasions to use in my advocacy efforts so that these families would have a support system in the schools? Did it really matter that I spent my career seeking out every possible educational avenue that I could afford to attend so that I could have the most up-to-date, promising options for my students? Did it really matter at all? This thinking produced many emotions that floated inside of me day to day…anger for “wasting so much time” in a career that most don’t even know exists, sadness for those students whom I felt like I couldn’t help enough, frustration at my choice for “starting over” at this stage in my life, and confusion as to why I was feeling all of these things at all.
What I also felt was a sense that I wasn’t alone. I knew that God was next to me and I trusted that despite these unsettling feelings, HE had a purpose for ME in my new role and that I would be OK. I had come to peace with the conclusion that I may never know the answers to my burning question. God has a way about HIM that when you finally release the control you so desperately want, HE gives you some insight and answers.
God knows that I am “one of those” children who need the “burning bush” examples to really understand that the message He is sending is valid. I used to ask Him all of the time to literally “show me the sign” that says….
Over time, I’ve learned to stay still, be quiet and listen; take in my surroundings and to wait. I’d like to insert, “patiently wait” however, I’m still working on that part. Anyway, here is what happened to me in the past month.
One Saturday morning I was in my new place of work (a beautiful salon in downtown Boise) sitting in the window seat admiring the gorgeous day outside. The door opened and in walked a young lady and what appeared to be her grandmother. I rose to greet them and the grandmother said, “Does Sally work here?” No one by that name works in our salon so I asked what type of appointment she had scheduled. Grandma couldn’t remember the name of the salon, however did know it was downtown. As we discussed some options for finding Sally, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that they young lady that was there was staring intently at me. Initially, I thought she was just listening in order to help grandma with directions. As it turns out, she was staring at me, intently. I turned to look at her and simultaneously, she asked, “What is your name?” As I began to answer, we both realized who each other were. Our eyes grew wide as smiles crossed our faces. We squealed each others names aloud as grandma looked on in silence. As it turns out, this young lady was my very first student that I taught in the first year our hospital school was opened in Idaho. She was 5 years old at that time and I taught her for 2 full years. After I transitioned her back into her community school I never knew what had happened to her. Until now.
This 18 year old young lady not only survived her childhood cancer and its treatment, she went on to complete high school with a 4.0 GPA. She has a boyfriend, a job and was getting ready to take classes as a local community college. WOW! What a God-filled surprise!
Ok, that’s example one. Here is what happened next. A few weeks later, I was attending an event at the Botanical Gardens after work one evening with a friend. This event was centered around the theme: Sharing the Journey: Identity, Purpose and Living It Out. It was a beautiful evening with music and shared insights from the speakers. If I had to guess, I’d say there were over 100 women in attendance. As we were ending the evening in song, I heard my name being called. I looked to my right and here came a face from my past. A wonderful parent of one of my former hospital students. She embraced me with a warm and loving hug and smile and began telling me all of the positive updates about her son. We talked and laughed as tears fled down our cheeks and all I could think about was how I needed to Praise God, once again, for this answered prayer.
Two examples from God, what more could I ask for? Well, since HE knows I need my “sign” HE provided yet another example for me. The next day, I got a text message from a co-worker who let me know that she had a client in her chair that I might know. Turns out, she had a young 22 year-old woman who had also been a student through our hospital school program. She went on to graduate college and has a promising career ahead.
Lastly, after these three experiences left me in awe I sat in peace; praising and giving thanks. I turned on my computer to start this blog and saw an email from my mom. She has also faced this same question over the years and recently met with one of her former students. This student of hers thanked her for what she had taught him and so many others and left her with a verse from the Bible; John 4:37.
So to answer my question, “Did it really matter?” I look to this verse and share John 4:34-37 with you… “My food,” says Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, “Four months more and then the harvest?” “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying “One sows and another reaps is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
What I learned is that I am doing the works of God, sometimes plowing the fields which need to be sown and other times reaping the benefits of those who worked the field before me. Does it really matter? It all matters to God.