So I knew better, but I went for it anyways. The last day of school is always very emotional for me but silly me I just HAD to start the “goodbye/ you have meant so much to me” speech with my class. Well I got about as far as “You have been an amazing class and I am extremely proud of all of you.” After that the tears started flowing and I could barely continue especially when I saw some students also crying. Well I did what I had to do then to get by and that was to put my prescription glasses up on my head so I did not have to see their sad expressions. This is a little trick I have learned to help me through difficult and emotional times. I first used this handy technique when I had to sing at my high school graduation. As it too was emotional for me, the fact that I could face a sea of blurred, expressionless faces gave me the help I needed to sing with gusto. Somehow the way I saw it is when you can’t really see it, you can endure it. Well I did get a hold of myself at school after sending out some emergency texts for prayer and we did have a nice last day despite the tears. I was grateful that the year had been so incredible that the emotion was there, as it was a testament to the good times we have had and the great memories we have shared.
Sometimes seeing things clearly can be too painful. Although the blurred vision technique worked for me that day, in life we need to face our issues clearly to make true progress. This is often not as easy as it sounds. When I would do substance abuse counselling with my clients we talked a lot about denial when it comes to our problems. Denial can be broken down to “Don’t – Even - Notice - I – Am – Lying.” Sometimes we become too comfortable with looking the other way pretending issues don’t exist in our lives. That can only continue for so long without consequences as eventually important issues need to be addressed. I would often see this with alcoholic clients who had convinced themselves that becoming social drinkers was their goal. The thought of giving alcohol up altogether was just too painful for them, so only drinking "socially" was a nice compromise or so they thought! A recipe for disaster is more like it, but that is something they have to come to realize on their own to truly overcome.
Every day is a new day. A new beginning awaits for us each day. What do your eyes see as your strengths and your struggles? We all have them. What can you start today to activate change in your life and initiate positive steps? For each one of us it is different. In church today we were challenged to take care of our physical bodies. This is an area I know I need to work on and I am hoping to make some improvements on this summer.
Well the summer is upon me and I can see clearly the school year I have left behind. It is good to do some honest reflection with no blurred vision. I am both ready for a change and a rest, yet grateful for all the positive things that have taken place. Feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact me on Facebook about what you are working on. I would love to pray with you or cheer you on to victory!
~ Until next time,
Romans 12: 1-2 (The Message Bible) So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Little Lesson Learned: Looking closely at a situation that needs changing can be scary, but it is the first step to positive change.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015
That Little Extra
I have come to realize that sometimes the best things in life really are free and the smallest things can have the biggest impact on people. Here is an example. The other day I was getting groceries and I ran into a cashier at the checkout that I frequently see. This girl is generally consistently bubbly, chatty and positive, yet that day she was strangely subdued. The change on her countenance was undeniable. When I asked how she was doing her reply was simply, “not good.” She went on to say that it had been a bad day, yet she only had an hour left on her shift, so she would try her best to make it through. Here’s where the story gets interesting. She then indicated that if she could just get a hug from someone, she knew she could make it through the next hour. I quickly replied that I would be happy to be that someone! Before I could even process my debit transaction, she was on the other side of the counter in record time eager to get that much needed hug. We shared a special moment that day with that simple, yet powerful gesture. After we hugged she squared her shoulders back and expressed that that was all she needed and she could now make it through the rest of her shift. That simple encounter spoke to my heart and reminded me how we all need each other and sometimes the smallest gesture can mean the most to someone.
We often get in a rush and forget to notice who and what are right around us. My year at school is coming to an end. As much as I anticipate the summer, I am sad that the end of the school year is quickly approaching. We have come so far as a class and we have grown together as a little family of learners. Our time together is almost up and coming to that realization is indeed sad for myself and my students. Never again will I teach this specific group and I find the last day of school very emotional for me. It has been an honour to be able to love these little people and share in their trials and triumphs. It is my desire that they will look back on their year in second grade and see beyond the reading, writing and math and realize that they had a teacher that loved them and really believed in them. Their cards, handmade pictures and hugs mean the world to me. I want to enjoy my last days with them and treasure them as I know how quickly it is coming to an end.
People come into our lives for a reason. Some for a lifetime, and others for a season. No matter what the nature of the relationships, we have the power to make or break the days of people and I will certainly choose the make the day end of the spectrum! The real key is focusing on appreciation and striving to be a positive source of hope to each other. We only have today and tomorrow is never promised. I remember when I was a kindergarten student myself, I had a friend named Michelle. We did everything together. We were inseparable and I felt even at a young age I had met a friend for life. Imagine my heartbreak when one day I arrived at school only to be informed by my teacher that Michelle had moved away. Without warning, and no goodbye I had literally lost my best friend. I still remember the sadness I felt and it really helps me connect with students when classmates move away. It has also reminded me to this day to appreciate people while they are in your life.
My grandparents George and Olive Sudds were two of the most amazing people I have ever met and have had the privilege of knowing. They were in my life for all too short a season but boy did I enjoy their company while I could. They made you feel that you were important, that everything you had to share was so interesting, and that you had graced them with your presence just by popping by. Whether they served a bowl of strawberries with ice cream, or tea and toast, their simple generosity spoke to my heart time and time again. I strive to follow their example and model someone who hopefully makes others feel important and shows kindness in simple, yet meaningful ways.
Many years ago, I encountered a young man once again at a grocery store checkout. He was excitedly chatting with me about how he had just recently become a new dad as we were waiting in line. The only item he had in his hands to purchase was diapers. As he proceeded to the checkout to his horror card after card was declined by the cashier. The line was quickly growing as well as his sense of embarrassment. My heart really went out to him. I soon realized I had been given a wonderful opportunity to show kindness in a very simple and practical way to this young dad. Quickly I jumped in and mentioned that I would be happy to pay for the diapers. The young man was almost in tears and so grateful. This story is not to praise my actions, for what I did was so minor in the grand scheme of things, but to instead remind each one of us how much a simple gesture can mean to someone.
We have it inside of us to be the person who helps someone make it through one more hour, or one more shift or one more bad day simply by being available. The Bible talks about us being the hands and feet of Christ and being a help to those in need. I have found if we are willing God will give us the opportunities to be a light and help to others. They say the difference between being ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. What little extra can you do today to bless others? The good news is you too get blessed in the process, so I would say that that is certainly a great deal!
Until next time,
1 Peter 4:10 : As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of the grace of God.
Little Lesson Learned: A little kindness goes a long way.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015