The past couple of days have been filled with some teary nights. In fact the past week has been filled with some sporatic outbursts – here and there. This normally would not be a good thing, but this week has been different. It has been as if My Father has been lighting candles on the menorah within me for each day of Chanukah. And – – – as my dad said so many years ago, “…most of that light comes through the children.”
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”~Titus 2:78
This past week several of my former students have shared their memories with me about our times together. The candle they lit in this fogginess of our housing dilemma has been a blessing. A gentle light just bright enough to see the next step, trusting in a path I can not see clearly enough for myself without their gift.
“You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?”~Rm 2:22a
The last candle of Chanukah was lit today. Since it is also the last week before Christmas break, not many students had homework, so only my 8th graders needed some time. Got to admit, it is still my favorite age group to teach. Grown-up enough for serious conversations and yet, even the most “hardened” ones still have dreams in their eyes.
Work was finished quickly, and we spent most of the time talking. Talking about books (they had just finished the Giver). Singing a Chanukah song from a child of a mixed linage (she learned it so that she could get her Chanukah gifts) while we shared a cookie she brought as a gift. Listening about the drama of the latest cheer competition. Laughing about music notes that the trumpet player could play but not name.
Wow – I have missed these types of encounters with my students, so my candle burned just a little brighter with joy.
Being a teacher is never easy. Low pay, Lengthy in-services. Long hours. Life hazards. (Believe me – between projectile vomiting, jumping bugs, germs, angry encounters (luckily for me – only a few – yes indeed – teaching can be hazardous). Most of us chose this job for one reason or another – not knowing what all it entailed. Yet – there is One who knew all of the bad stuff that went with the job description and still volunteered.
“You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am”~Jn 13:13
I have thought about these teaching verses in the WORD often during my career. Each one providing a little more light on the kind of teacher I wanted to be. While I did have some wonderful teachers that served as role models for me, it was a small town Rabbi that truly held me captive in the way He taught.
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”~Jn 3:2b
Those verses and a few others have kept me striving to try harder, to search longer, to pray constantly. As I listened this week to Syrian Christians express their willingness to die for this teacher,I pondered these verses again.
- Can I not try a little harder?
- Give a little more?
- Pray a little more often?
I am broken once again in the simpleness of the story. A man born long ago. Humble beginnings in a cold stable and surrounded by animals and excrement. Swaddling clothes instead of a ton of onesies and a multiple outfits.
A single candle lighting the darkness. A rabbi who walked with his students A teacher willing to sacrifice all for those who followed in His steps. A professor who waits to see if we have the courage to seek His wisdom and follow His steps into the unknown.
“Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God”~Mk 12:14