Last Friday I was driving to school and these amazing cloud formations kept ebbing and moving and forming and shifting. They continued for 2 hours.
I was out on yard duty, pounding the pavement/blacktop, making sure that the kids weren’t stirring up too much trouble, and drew many of my students’ attention to the sky. It was like this light came across their face…seeing nature in the midst of the asphalt.
Light in the midst of the power lines. Light in the midst of the portables and buildings and play structures and flying soccer balls. Immediately many started pointing out what they were seeing in those clouds. Imaginations and creativity running wild.
And today, a full week later, at the end of Good Friday, I still find myself thinking about last Friday’s sky. The wonder, beauty and creative potential of the clouds and light. Blue, clear, spring-like skies are balm to my soul, but there are some things that just aren’t possible without clouds, storms, impending rain. Beauty that can’t be fully appreciated without some fear and hardship.
This morning, a colleague prayed with gratitude for the hard times that allow us to see the beauty of the good moments. My friend Susanna’s blog is titled, “Good, but Hard” because, as she writes, “sometimes life is good; sometimes hard; most of the time, it’s a little of both.” And as each day ebbs and flows, the good with the hard, I think about how to quickly push through the hard moments. Today those included classroom management “moments”. They included talking about the racial prejudice that existed during the Gold Rush to Indians, Chilenos, Chinese and African Americans….as the only Caucasian in the room. The gift of delicious laughter at the end of the day….just finishing out “quiet” clean up in record time and having one chair cascade off a desk, knocking chair after chair down in domino fashion. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the hard.
So as Good Friday winds down today, I feel so far from a place of reflection and prayer. Wonder where the time exists to think on Christ and his sacrifice…..when screaming kids are fighting bath and bed….when 4th graders are waring with words. Where is time for thinking about what this day really means?
But it has to be woven in the midst of each of these thougths and interactions….in the midst of seeing the beauty and uniqueness of clouds. In the words of a Gold Rush discussion. In between popping bubbles in the bath and flying food at the dinner table. These everyday moments, the good but hard times, that I cling to the fact that Christ is present.
Matt chopped back these dead apple tree limbs with a vengeance just months ago. And they now spring back to life….in the middle of the hard things, the pruning, the tough conversations, the non-ending/child screaming/whining/I NEED SOME MOMMY ALONE TIME! hours, we shall be given grace to face what is in our path. Grace given to us through the sacrifice of Christ that we remember today. Not the glorious GOODness of Sunday and Easter and trumpets and banners and chocolate eggs and triumphal hymns. But in the hard things. In the darkness. In the not knowing. In the “never ending”. Chances to remember that we need not “fear fear”.
“The promise is not that we shall escape the hard things
but that we shall be given grace to face them,
to enter into them, and to come through them.
The promise is not that we shall not be afraid.
It is that we need not fear fear.”
~Esther de Waal, Living with Contradiction