Nothing. I felt nothing but physical pain that burned deep within my chest and thoracic cavity and made every breath an exercise in pain control (not a heart attack—I’d had that checked out). I had to put my regular exercise routine on hold (too hard to jog or even walk when every movement caused jarring pain and every deep breath burned), and the more I couldn’t exercise, the worse I felt.
I had received disappointing (but not that unexpected) news from the work front that made me feel as if all my efforts to improve my teaching each year and inspire my students to do their very best had counted for nothing. I felt as if no matter what I did, certain people would never see beyond their third-hand opinion of me. It hurt almost as much as the physical pain.
My mental capacities seemed clouded by the physical pain, and making simple decisions such as “What should I cook for supper?” seemed beyond my capabilities. Fortunately, our daughters pitched in and helped prepare meals—otherwise, we probably would have eaten cereal for breakfast, lunch and supper.
I remember crying out a whiney little plea to God for help. I remember hearing Amy Grant’s song “Better Than a Hallelujah.” I realized that spilling my honest emotions before the throne of grace was an act of worship—God wants to hear my heart—it doesn’t matter how whiney, angry or confused I might feel. God wants our emotions—not just our ‘thank yous’ and our ‘please can I have’ and our ‘fix this pleases’. (click to tweet)
The next day, a former student—one who had often seemed hostile and unenthused—sent me a message on Facebook. She wanted to let me know that she appreciated all that I’d done to help her learn and to let me know that she had finally started college. Her English professor had complimented her on her writing abilities, and so she wanted to let ME know how happy it made her to realize that all I had done to help her learn had paid off.
It didn’t seem like much, but that one small act of kindness to a tired teacher served as an answer to a prayer I hadn’t even asked. We never know how our written words of kindness and encouragement might serve as a spark to someone who feels as if their light is going out.
And so to all those ladies who have sent me cards as part of the #FMFPartySnailMail, thank you! Your words serve as sparks that inspire and encourage me! (Click to tweet)