Here in Georgia, we’re getting ready to send our kids back to school. It’s a hot topic these days no matter what city or state you live in. Depending on your own personal circumstances, some kids will return to the classroom, others will go with a hybrid schedule and others will begin the year with distance learning from home. Yes, 2020 has been quite the year and one we will never forget.
When I was growing up, I loved school and I especially loved getting ready for the new year! My mom and I would take the train into Downtown Boston and go shopping at Filene’s Basement and Jordan Marsh! We made a day of it and after shopping we would then walk over to Chinatown to eat the best Chinese food my lips ever tasted. I remember rubbing the belly of the Buddha as we entered sending up a wish for a great school year.
Though our preparations for school today are completely different, memories have begun to flood my mind of days gone by. Even when John and Melanie were little, I loved the whole process of getting them ready for school: shopping for new clothes, shoes, backpacks that would then be filled with colored folders and new pencils. So much has changed from those days. Today I’m buying a laptop, a desk and a chair to outfit a digital learning environment at home! Yet, the excitement of it all still rumbles underneath. My sweet son, Cameron, is starting Middle School this year. How did that happen so fast?! Cameron takes after John and enjoys his classes. Melanie was a different story! I’ll never forget picking her up one day when she was in the First Grade. As the teacher helped her into the backseat she leaned in and said, “Melanie is so sweet. She’s such a social child!” Oh, no! I knew what that meant! That was code for, “Melanie talks all the time and isn’t concentrating on her schoolwork!” As the years went by, some things never changed. She made friends wherever she went, had a beautiful smile, even when they took school pictures after she had lost a tooth 😊 and she always talked non-stop!
Since Melanie died, I have found myself back in the classroom. The main subject, “Lessons of Life and Death.” I’ll admit I don’t particularly like these lessons very much. This type of learning isn’t what I would have chosen for myself. But, unfortunately, I wasn’t given a choice. Even though we all walk through life, learning as we go, I wasn’t prepared for some of the lessons I’ve had to learn. Quite frankly, right now I’d rather be like Melanie. I would love to just be enjoying life, laughing, smiling, and chatting it up with my girlfriends over a glass of chardonnay, with not a care in the world! Instead, each day I’m sitting on the front row of class, learning about the lessons of life and death.
Fear. Yes, that’s on the list of topics we’re covering. I’m a reluctant student! I don’t like this class, mainly because I haven’t wanted to face what it is that’s causing me to feel this way. However, have you ever noticed that the thing you resisted most, once confronted loses its power? That’s how I feel about fear. I have come to discover that fear is a natural response when an unexpected traumatic event occurs. Sometimes fear can evolve into PTSD. When you were a little kid were you ever afraid of the dark? I was. I found out that as soon as I had the courage to step out, run into the dark room and turn the light on, there was nothing in that room that could hurt me. The fears we face today can be confronted in the same way. The mind is the battlefield and the enemy wants to hold us hostage and keep us in the dark and afraid. Jesus is the light of my life. In Him I am finding my weakness made strong. (2 Cor 12:9). I may even take a step backward. It’s ok! I will continue moving forward, letting His word be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
If you’ve been following my posts, you probably noticed that music is part of the foundation of my life. It’s become a large part of my healing. The songs and music I listen to help ease the unrest deep in my soul. I may even weep as I worship and that’s ok, too. Tears are part of healing. Embrace them. Psalm 56:8 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book (NLT). I’m so thankful I don’t need sunshine bursting from my heart in order to worship Jesus. I encourage you to plug this song into YouTube and listen for yourself. I captured part of the chorus that speaks to my heart and helps me when that fear comes knocking on my door.
~ Every anxious thought that steals my breath
It’s a heavy weight upon my chest
As I lie awake and wonder what the future will hold
Help to remember that you’re in control
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength ‘cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind
I will trust you Lord. I will fear no more.
~ I Will Fear No More, The Afters ~