As a high school teacher I am often asked by students if I would attend their funeral when they die.
A sobering question, with a simple answer. Of course, I will be there. But you say it because it’s what they need to hear, not thinking you will ever have to follow through with that promise. I am a woman of my word, and if there is one thing I believe it is that showing people they matter, matters. I have attended two funerals in two years. Both 18 year old boys. It baffles the mind if you let it.
I have taught high school for almost ten years and I love it. I love the teasing and joking, or the trust established that puts you in a strategic place to make a difference. I love the occasional deep conversations triggered by a piece of literature that they would have never read on their own. It is funny really because when I was in high school it was a struggle. Not academically but emotionally and mentally. If I could go back and tell 16 year old me I would become a teacher I would laugh at myself. Gods plans baffle the mind, but that is why he is God.
I work well with my students. I get that life is hard and I want to support them. These kids; and they are still just kids, are afraid. It’s true. Most adults don’t see it, they see cocky jocks with their ego as big as a football field or musician/artists and their audacious outfits and streams of profanity. It’s all a ruse, and I see right through them to their hearts. Hearts I want to protect, nurture and prepare. Prepare for the inevitable heartache that is going to come their way. Some have experienced their fair share of pain, and you can only hope that the quota has been filled. That God has some sense of balance in this world of ours. Unfortunately that is not usually the case, not that God looks to harm, but we live in such a broken world.
Some of my students are as sweet and innocent as they were in elementary school. Trusting, caring and impactful. The type of kid that could change the world with their caring nature and you secretly have dreams of them giving speeches to honor you as their inspiration. Selfish I know.
One of my previous students passed away unexpectedly this past week and I’m still in shock at the loss. I mean no one should be taken at an early age, but some kids make poor choices on a consistent basis and it’s just a matter of time. I was one of those kids, I still marvel that I’m alive and have made it as far as I have. Other kids do all the right things despite the cards they’re given, make strides towards positive living from the get go. Why was I spared and he was not? Only God knows, and as cliche as that sounds it’s the truth.
God knows. We don’t. Our arrogance demands an explanation for everything to make sense. Life rarely makes sense and death never does. At least not to us, good thing we are not in charge here.
Enjoy every moment. Give people hope. But most important, trust Gods providence in this world, when things don’t make sense, that does.
To my wonderful student who has left us too early with a gaping hole in so many hearts, I will see you again soon. I’m thankful for the peace and wholeness you now have. I will cry some more, because that is appropriate when someone you love leaves you. Then I will trust in God and begin to heal. May you all do the same. God bless.