When Smiles Are In Short Supply
Tough times. We all have them and let’s face it, some are much more difficult than others. At times we feel that we are managing well despite it all, and on other occasions we feel that we can barely keep it together. Guess what? If any of us have ever felt this way, we are truly human! Life is just plain hard some days. Plans and life in general can change at the last minute and send us for a real emotional loop.
At work last week, we had to say goodbye to wonderful staff at our school very unexpectedly. Unfortunately our enrolment had gone down so they had to be transferred elsewhere. It was sad, unfortunate and difficult for everyone, as we have become like family and did not want anyone to leave the fold. They were noticeably absent this week at work and I will be touching base with them soon to let them know that I am thinking of them and praying for them in their new positions. This has happened to me three years ago as well and I was absolutely devastated to leave a school I loved. In hindsight I can see how my steps were being ordered as my new school has provided me with wonderful people, very special students and valuable experiences that I will always cherish, yet when the change was happening I was so discouraged and nervous.
Change at any age can be scary. The unknown is often more terrifying than the reality of the situation when we actually experience it. Many students started school for the very first time this year. It is an exciting, yet nerve wracking event for both them and their parents to be sure. I remember when my son Tyler started school he was so excited and very ready. I on the other hand was an emotional wreck. I remember crying with my husband Phil and saying things like “Will the teacher realize how special he is?” “Will he be able to be on his own without me for a whole school day?” “What if he needs help with his shoelaces?” On and on my concerns continued. This was back when JK was only two days a week and every other Friday, and I was still freaking out! We affectionately deemed his days off “Palsy Walsy Days” and enjoyed them thoroughly. It still brings a lump to my throat when I recall this memory. He had just started full time in Grade One and he realized there were no days off in between. With tears in his eyes and trembling mouth he asked “Mom, when are our “Palsy Walsy Days” now? Without hesitation, I did not miss a beat and quickly replied “Saturdays!” Phew! That seemed to calm him down and I felt better too. An anxious JK student was chatting with a friend of mine in class last week and she asked where her teacher was. My friend kindly replied “She is on her break and will be right back very soon!” The little girl with as brave face as she could muster said “It’s taking too long and my smile is running out!” I overheard this conversation and was immediately touched by the way she had articulated her heartbreak. What she wanted was taking too long and in response smiling was becoming more and more difficult.
I could so relate to her. I thought haven’t many adults felt that way about hardships in their lives? A sense of humour is a wonderful thing, yet sometimes, nothing in life seems funny anymore and our smiles are truly running out. It is very difficult to keep positive and to put a smile on when our goals, dreams and heart’s desires feel shattered or unfulfilled. Sometimes our lives take a turn we never anticipated and we are left wondering what is the “big plan” in all of this?
I recall when I was in teacher’s college feelings of nervousness about so many changes that had come all at once. Not only had I left a good job to go back to school with slim chances of landing a job as an elementary teacher, but our car was stolen and burned to an unrecognizable crisp and my husband through unfortunate circumstances lost his job. I wondered why we were going through such tough times, when we really felt my going back to school was right for our family. In the struggle it was hard to see the big picture but we know that God was still in control as eventually these issues worked themselves out. It took time and let me tell you, there were many days that my smile was running out, yet we made it through!
I am a huge Barry Manilow fan and I am not ashamed to admit it! A few years ago I went to a Barry Manilow concert and I could hardly contain my excitement. I was one of the most enthusiastic fans there that evening to be sure. One of my favourite songs by him is “Through the Rain.” I have included it at the end of this blog. I love the message because it doesn’t talk of the rain never coming, but that he made it THROUGH the rain and now has a powerful story to tell to inspire others.
This is the way it works in life, especially when God is by our side. The Bible says that God will never leave us or forsake us and He is the “friend who sticks closer than a brother.” When change and tough times come, He is with us in the midst of it and will bring us through the rainstorm to see the rainbow of His faithfulness at the end.
Maybe your smile is running out. Maybe you have received unexpected news and you see no way out. Maybe you or someone you love is in the middle of a personal crisis of some sort. Please know that you are amazing and you will come through this storm. Tough times come and go, but tough people will make it through. I love this quote by A.A. Milne and I have it on display in my classroom to help me through the hard times. It says: “Promise me you will always remember: you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think!” This is my message for you to apply to whatever has made your smile run out today. Keep positive and know there are people in your corner. The weather forecast says rainbows are up ahead so just keep pressing on and before you know it, you’ll be the one holding the umbrella over someone else going through the storm with an amazing personal story to share!
~ Until next time,
Deuteronomy 31:6 ~ Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you.
Little Lessons Learned: Struggles in life can really get us down, yet as we come through them, we may see that these very struggles will become a tool for us to help us help others.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015