Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Abiding Things

When I walk in my school, there's a sign that reads,"Discamus Permanentia: Let us Learn the Abiding Things."

Abiding. Enduring. Long-lasting. Eternal. Let us learn the eternal things.

Sometimes, the last thing you think will make you happy turns out to fill your soul in ways you didn't know were possible.

I don't have much time to share this with ya'll, because I'm grading grammar tests instead of watching the super bowl or swooning over my favorite British TV show- but I have to tell you this. When you find something that brings you joy- real, every day, thick and thin joy- pinpoint what that is and fight for it.

I think about that quote every day. It gives me so much hope. 

All the hard things about teaching- and there are hard things- are not abiding. The blood, vomit, snot, and tears pass. The crying over giving out detentions or having to raise your voice to a room full of screaming children also passes. You learn to smile when you answer the same question a thousand times. You rediscover your love of chocolate milk. You shout for joy over rescuing tiny mittens from an icy playground. You stop and realize you've been more alive in the past five months than you thought you could be again. 

Yes, the hard things pass. You sleep less, you work more. Their failure is your failure. Their success is your success.

And something beautiful happens every day. Every single day...and those things are abiding.

The first time a student understands a concept they've been struggling with.
When a student tries again even though they're beat down and exhausted.
When they learn to help each other.
The look on their faces when they're dying to learn.
The hundreds of times they choose the right thing outweighs the one time they choose the wrong thing.

I didn't know teaching would be so hard. So fun. So heart-breakingly beautiful.

I didn't know it would change me. I sure didn't know I was dying to change.

The abiding things. I ache for them. They pound in my chest like blood runs through my veins.
God's mercy.
His protection and timing.
My family's love. 
The loyalty of my friends; the death of our pride to love one another.
The look of trust in children's eyes when they look at me- and the fullness of responsibility and protection I feel for them that grows stronger every day.

I pray, even in a small measure, I can teach them the abiding things.

I hope I recognize the passing things in my own life.

Failure. Shame. Apathy. These are not eternal. It is a lie to believe our existence is measured in some cosmic list of our rights and wrongs.  It will only be measured in love- in sacrifice- in genuine pursuit of truth. If nothing else, His love is abiding- and believing that changes everything.

"Miss Hamilton, I can't do it."
"Maybe not today- but that won't be forever. Let's look at it again."

This joy- such a gift I did not expect to find again- this is truly abiding, and I think it will change everything if I give it the chance. 

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