Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fabulous compliments (or - why you don't depend on people for your self-worth)

They'd argued all day. I was tired of settling it, and was the motor mouth really complaining about the noisemaker; neither was sitting where they belonged. "I don't know what to do with you two, " I snapped. "I think I'll just tie you together!"

A---- looked up. "Miss Wells, you sound just like a therapist."

E---, now in 4th grade, walked up to me at a baseball game. "Hi, Miss Wells!" We chat. She says, "I still remember when you were my teacher in 2nd grade."

(Awwww.... how sweet! I made an impact on her life.)

"Yeah, I remember when you got all excited and you wrote on the white board with a permanent marker."

"Miss Wells! M---- told the sub you were fatter than she was."

(I think that's better than telling the sub she's fatter than I.)

I'd just fixed green chile enchiladas and the sauce was perfect. There wasn't quite enough of it to make the tortillas and meat juicy, but the sauce was perfect. I set it on the table. T--- made a face. "Rebecca, I think you've done better than that."

Written in March... Still called true.

Today was the day of a happy heart. Wisps of hair brushed against my slightly sun-flushed face as I quickly walked into my house and realized that I was quite energetic enough to face grading papers, though I’d have rathered stay outside and water the tiny wisps of green and bloom peeking through the dry landscape.

My friend says that taking naps is the sign of a peaceful heart. She might be right. Another acquaintance mentioned her love of naps and as she and I chatted, I realized we were, in the words of Anne of Green Gables, "kindred spirits" of peaceful hearts.

I think the peaceful heart can be attributed to the joy of Jesus. Stress is a lot lower when one can let go and let God. And He gives His beloved sleep. I do realize, though, how blessed I am and I was surprised to realize that this day of a happy heart might be a rare moment.

I’m usually a pretty happy person, I think. I laugh with my students a lot. I love to visit with people I encounter along the way, I like my drive home most evenings, I smile at the smell of coffee, and I can’t imagine more fun than riding a horse and looking for cows. All of which events have happened in the week past.

But these completely happy heart moments? They surprise me. One came last week, when I curled up in my living room with my Bible. It was about 7:30 in the morning, the sun was streaming through the front door, glinting off the polished wood floor, the washing machine was running in the kitchen. I thought of my grandma, my beloved Grandma Wells. The moment reminded me of her and in my head, I think I felt I was like her for a moment. My house was in order.

Today the causes were harder to trace. It’s not like I don’t have plenty to do this weekend, and usually my heart faints at the thought of grading spelling stories (who assigned those, anyway?!). Still, I rested well last night, awakening to the sun rather than an alarm clock. I spent most of my day outdoors, in overcast, slightly breezy weather. I didn’t really work - I admit it - so I wasn’t tired. I visited with friends, but they are almost family, so I didn’t have to guard my every word, weigh the effects of every action, as I do most every other day. 

Maybe my happy heart today really is rooted just as the happy heart of last week. Today, all was right in my world. Today, I didn’t have to suffer the effects of sin on my world and my soul. Today, I could appreciate God’s creation. Today, my “house” was in order, but it was not my house. It was my world.

You see, we live in a broken world. Relationship with God is broken, relationships with others are broken, relationships with His creation are broken. Jesus is healing my broken heart, but sometimes my concern for people or my self-inflicted stress interferes with His grace. My job is to love my students, broken children, and my calling from the Lord is to love His people and people He is drawing - and these people are broken. We’ve broken relationship with God’s creation in our humanness and sometimes I live so far from it, I feel I’m completely removed. Today, I was in close contact with that creation. Today, by His grace, I lived in the fact that it is not my job to heal the broken. Today, I could revel in the blessings He’s given. Today, perhaps, I had a taste of the restored world, of a heaven full of His presence.

And tomorrow? Well, tomorrow, I might return to a more vivid view of brokenness, but perhaps my happy heart will instill in me just a bit more of a hope of heaven.