“So what do you do?” someone asks — and for the first time, I don’t have an answer.
I help children who have problems with communicating, is the easy answer. But that does not tell you what exactly it is that I do. Because mostly, I try to figure out ways to make these children do what they do not want to do. I do it because I know what is good for them. Because I know what they need. But these children? They do not see all this the way I do. So many days hold a struggle, a battle of wills that is tinted with frustration.
Yet I am seeing that each day, this love that swells in my heart. These little children, the world must be a scary place for them. There is so much potential for failure, and I know. Because isn’t this how I always feel, too? Looking at the potential for failure, I am paralyzed with fear. I refuse to move, refuse to take a stand. I want to quit.
“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.”
I am starting to wonder, if this is anything like what God feels. This heart swelling with love, knowing it will be alright.
One of these days, a little boy steps into my office. We sit on the floor as I lay out exercises, trying to make learning fun but we both know: this is difficult. We both struggle, him trying to raise his voice to voice his feelings. I have to quiet mine, this love thrumming with every beat of my heart.
So we work, pressing hard and I know every bit of him wants to tell me no. With him it’s always hard, the breaking point coming suddenly. Soon arms are flailing and his eyes defiant, flaming. I sit there calm, quiet; allowing him to let out the steam, the frustration. Soon I tell him, “Okay. I hear you. We can finish now.” This is all love veiled, knowing that this was not a forever no; but rather, it is okay to be tired now. It is okay to stop for a while. We will try again later.
I keep wondering, if this is what God does with us too? My heart beats loud with the weaving of grace into the strings of my soul.
I am so stubborn in avoiding all that hurts. I avoid the hard things, those that reveal all my inabilities. There are days when it feels like I have a thousand of those, inabilities. I rather keep running in circles than tackle the hard things, knowing that my Father will help me. This hopelessness that darkens the days, is all about the way I look at my life. Because I am carried by the strong arms of the God who created the mountains and painted the skies. All my sorrow is laced with joy because there is always hope.
“To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Soon enough, we are back on the floor; this comfort calming down the loudness of our souls. A book in hand, we read for a moment. There is so much to wonder and ponder, and excitement sparks. A hand reaches to touch me, to show me something — and I know he is not angry with me anymore.
Soon enough, he lies down, letting his head rest against my knee. I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. Love swells again, knowing that we took a tiny step forward today. We tried that which was hard. We will continue later. But for now, we will just be.