Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Job, Job. Do you know?

The struggles of Job from the Old Testament are legendary. He had been a man whose love for God shone brightly.  His obedience was absolute, without question.

So what happened? Satan asked God who, of all His people, was the most faithful and holy.  God showed this man, Job, to Satan.  He challenged God that Job would reject God. God allowed Satan to destroy Job's obedience, if such could be done.

Job, as a prosperous man with a large family, was reduced to nothing when all was taken from him.

His good friends visited him as he cowered by a fire. Job was covered with boils and ash, and about as miserable as a man could possibly be. His good friends recommended that Job curse God and die. 

But Job held fast, despite abandonment from friends and seemingly from God.  Job cried out to God and questioned His plan.  God replied this:

Job 38: 1-18

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand.

Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

Who stretched a measuring line across it?

On what were its footing set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, 

when I said, “This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt”?

Have you ever given orders to the morning, or show the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?

The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment.

The wicked are denied their light, and their upraised arm is broken.

Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep?

Have the gates of death been shown to you?

Have you see the gates of the depest darkness?

Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?

Tell me, if you know all this.

 What happened then?

Job remained true. All that he had lost--including his entire family, his wealth--could not be returned to him.  However, God renewed Job's losses with greater wealth, gifted him another wife and children. 

Mourning turned to sunlight, held back seas of agony, 
and settled Job down safely on the garment of God's creation.

What would I do? Would I stand the test? What would you do? Could you stand this test?  

I just don't know.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Rainbow's End

For seventy years, Liam had chased every rainbow to capture a leprechaun and his pot of gold. Knowing that this would be his last rainbow, Liam slowly hobbled to the Hill of Tara.  Gasping in surprise, there sat his leprechaun.

Liam threw his rope and wrapped it around the green fella. “Ha!  I’ve caught you at last! Give me your όr (gold), you rόgaile (rascal)!”

The leprechaun sighed. “Have ye caught me at last, Ian? Been lookin’ for the όr all yer life, fear (man). I’ll give ye the gold.”  With that, he pulled out a Samsung 7 android phone, texting in some numbers. “Here you go!” and handed it to Liam.

“What?  WHAT? Bitcoins? Really?” Liam gasped.

“Worth every $8, 810.18 today!  And, ye have one hundred that, $8,810.18 times 100, so there you go, now. Redeem online." With that he faded into air. 

He left a wallet filled with ₤1,000 as an extra gift, which in American dollars is roughly $4,000.  Liam hobbled over to it and headed to O'Flanagan's Pub. No more End of the Rainbows for me.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Eyes of the Student

I loved teaching, still love teaching.  When my health said it was time to stop, I turned away from the classroom.  I now have two granddaughters whom I love without end.  Still, I miss the classroom, the eyes of the students as they learn.  

The eyes never change.   

In the twenty years since my first group of students, I may not recognize them, but they recognize me.  

 When I see the eyes, I can call up the child-face these adults once had.  Suddenly we are talking about their lives and what they are doing as adults.  Some have children holding their hand, some are going on to school.  I don’t tell them about me, my life goals, because I am not and never was the important one:  the students were all that mattered to me.

Almost every night I have a dream about teaching.  Some are great, where we are on the playground or we are reading a grand book.  Others are not. 

In those dreams, the teaching situation is desperate, the classroom is an abandoned rotting shell of a building, and the students are scared.  So am I.  There are so many students with all sorts of needs and we don’t have enough books to go around.  Whatever learning happens is up to the teacher, because there is no other source.  I see their eyes looking at me, waiting, and that is when I do something.

Bolivia Road of Death
I never get to find out what I do, for the dream morphs onto something like driving a school bus along that most dangerous road in Bolivia.  Then I wake up.

It all comes down to the teacher and the quality he/she brings to the classroom.  Money can be thrown at the needs of the schools, but if the teacher does not have the freedom to teach, nothing will happen.

Newly updated, politically correct textbooks can be stacked along a wall, reams of lined paper can line the perimeter, and sharpened pencils can fill clear storage bins.  All are meant to improve learning.

But, if the teacher does not have the freedom to explore and fulfill the needs of each student, learning will dwindle to the bubbles on Scantron™ test papers. 

***This is a re-post of one I wrote back in 2011.  I loved it then, I love it now.  I miss the classroom to this very day.