What are going to show me today Jesus? I simply can not wait because You almost always blow me away especially on the days I’m teaching. Assigned as a floater today, wonder what grade I’ll be teaching?
Fast forward to this evening. OMGEEEEEE! Let’s decompress shall we?
Rewind back to this morning. There I was teaching a room full of six-year old’s and boom! I’m zero point three seconds away from a sobbing blubbering beautiful hot mess. What just happened?
We were in workshop and reading the book titled, Amos & Boris. I had never read the book before so the story was new to me too. Or so I thought…There I was in a cozy quaint white rocking chair with all these precious little eyes on me listening to my every word. We had just finished reading the story aloud together. It was time to move on to writing workshop when JJ came up to me and peeps, he needed to talk. He said to me, “Mrs. J. what do you think happened after the story ended?” “Do you think they never really saw each other again?” I asked him what he thought happens? He said “I think they will see each other again someday.” I’m thinking to myself, good that is a much better ending then I had in mind and we have to move on to writing buddy or I am going to lose control of this classroom management and all hell is going to break loose. These precious babies love to push the limits. They want to be good trust me but they just can’t help themselves. It just makes me love them more. Ahhhh! Jesus, that’s so you too.
No, that wasn’t what was about to break loose. JJ continued on his conversation with me. He looked at me and said “my parents and I moved away from my best friend and I’m not able to see him again.” “I ask them all the time when I can see him again and they said he is too far away.” Oh. Then he said “I wonder if he misses me as much as I miss him but I’m scared he doesn’t think about me at all.” Oh. What do you think JJ? “I think he feels the same way I do but he can’t tell me that and I really miss him but he probably doesn’t know it either”. “I think we both feel the same way.” “I wish he knew that I miss him so much”.
OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! Mrs. J. is about to become one hot crying mess in front of a room full of first graders. So much for classroom management! Trust me I wanted to sob my beautiful hot mess eyes out but I’m the teacher in this scenario so I pulled myself together. Remember, the princess has perfected that well.
Am I really the teacher or the student at this moment? Ahhhh! My Jesus loves me. This is good stuff.
JJ came closer and sat on my lap in the rocking chair. We had a little longer of a chat and I’m here to tell you it was nothing short of amazing. I told him I could understand what he was talking about and we were going to sit here a minute so I could listen to him. I knew I couldn’t change this for him but I could listen. Ahhhh! Jesus, that’s so you too.
Flash back to last week when I saw a message waiting on the iPad from a person saying they missed their friend and asking if they could see them. I answered her and said of course she could see her friend and suggested she think of some ideas of what might work. But the friend did not respond at all to the messages. I wonder why? Perhaps they can’t find the words to answer them? Maybe they missed them so badly when they had to move away that they have just convinced themselves they don’t care? Or the reality of them not being around has become more familiar? They are just too far away, they are just too different. That friend of hers who is not answering the message…is my daughter. I can’t force her. But I know she cares about this friend because I have also held my daughter in a rocking chair and wiped her tears away. I know what her friend does not. What a mess.
Perhaps hurt is a distance too much to bear traveling? Mom’s blessings and messes can not change this for her or her friend. The three of us are not the only ones in this equation here so let’s get that on the table peeps. Perhaps the distance is too much to bear traveling for others involved too? I’m have no idea if this friend asked if others would help her see her friend or not. Not my place to judge though. Jesus is in control of this wheel regardless!
What is distance if we are not thinking of it literally?
Back to JJ. I wonder why his parents moved? Maybe is was all good and it was a blessing? Or was it a hot mess? Perhaps a little bit of both. I do not know the answer because I didn’t ask him and he didn’t tell me. If I did know it certainly isn’t my place to judge whether it was a mess nor envy if their move was a blessing. But I do know this friends. This little boy is hurting and misses his best friend with his entire heart and soul. That was clear. Crystal clear. We had a good talk. I told him sometimes it is hard when we are at the mercy of other people’s decisions such as our parents. In the best childlike description I could pull from my soul, I tried to help him understand that we are all at the mercy of things we might not understand. And for whatever reason, his parents aren’t able to help him see his best friend right now. Whatever the reason is for being too far away, they just can’t do the distance. That is okay JJ because you will never forget him right? “YES”, he said. Good. Because you could very well see your friend again someday when you are old enough to make more decisions on your own and reach out to him. When the intertwining of your parents distances are no longer your own. We don’t teach or learn about Jesus in public school as a subject that we study but perhaps we do after all? JJ sure taught me a thing or two about love.
I really hope JJ will see his friend again someday. If not in this lifetime in heaven. So here is the story of Amos & Boris – I will summarize:
There was a mouse named Amos who built a boat and sailed away from home in to the ocean. He so happy with his adventures and was in awe of the gigantic size of the sea he had never seen before. He wanted to sail and see all that he could see. One day he fell out of his boat and it sailed away from him. He was too far away from land to swim home. He stayed a float for as long as he could begging for someone to save him. As if that weren’t bad enough a storm came and Amos was getting so tired and his strength was giving out. He wondered, what will it feel like to drown? Will I go to heaven? Just as he was giving up hope, this strange creature came along and he asked Amos what kind of strange fish he was. I’m not a fish, I’m a mammal, the highest form of life and I live on land. Holy clam the creature said I am a mammal too. I’m a whale and I live at sea, my name is Boris. Amos thought, we are different but we are both mammals. The two became the closest possible of friends. They shared everything together. But there were storms and Amos knew he could not survive the waves of the ocean. They had to say goodbye so Amos could stay on land. Years went by, another storm hit and the waves washed Boris to land. Just like Amos, he knew he could not survive without someone to help him. Just as he had given up hope, Amos found him again. They were so happy to see each other. As much as he wanted him to stay on land Amos knew Boris had to stay in the water and so he helped him to the shore. Boris looked back at his friend with tears rolling down his cheeks and he disappeared in to the waves. They knew they might never meet again. They knew they would never forget each other.
The whale was Amos’s friend just like JJ’s friend who he can’t see right now. My daughter is the whale her friend can’t see right now. The reality is all of them might not ever see each other again. Or like JJ, they could change that distance when they are able.
Fear of losing someone is hard. Losing them is hard. Forgiveness is hard. Grief is hard. Letting go is hard. The unknown is hard. Accepting differences is hard. Bigger than our understanding is hard. They are the waves. They are the distance. Did you watch the newest episode of This Is Us This Week with Rebecca, Randall’s Mom? Oh my, how I LOVE that show!!!! When the distance is too much to bear traveling we can all easily choose to behave in ways that are even more hurtful or unkind. Just ask Rebecca in this episode. What a mess! But Jesus loves her anyway and so does Randall. He was already beginning to forgive by he end of the show but he wasn’t completely there yet. It’s much easier to not travel the distance. But then come the messes. We know this all to well. So does Jesus.
Even if JJ never sees his friend again Jesus is that whale too. He is the friend you don’t see or can’t see when you are on land and he is in the ocean. But even though you can’t see Him, you can walk on water if you just get in the waves and find Him. He is there. Even if it’s just on shore at first until you are strong enough for the waves. You’ll be glad you did. Giving it all to God is hard peeps. But it is so worth it. You will break deep.
On that note, yesterday I stumbled across a book I wrote in 1983. It is titled “Things I Like To Do” by Aimee Leabu. I was in first grade! WTF! I could have figured this teaching thing out I ABSOLUTELY LOVE a long time ago had I just gone back and listened to the first grader instead of trying to figure things out on my own. Then the very next day I’m teaching first grade? Well played Jesus, well-played. Putting it all together. I seriously can’t make this stuff up! Oh my ever lovin goodness! My Jesus loves me. He is my best friend.
Everything I ever need to know about life can be learned from a first grader.
Loved By Grace,
When I grow up I might like to be a teacher, fly to different places and see things. I do not like to fly but that was apparently after the 1987 plane crash instilled fear of death. West Chicago & Middlebelt Road was too close for this stewardess. Not anymore. Bring on the crashing waves. Breaking deep. 🙂