Sitting in church last Sunday a line of a song came to me so clearly that I knew it was from the Lord. It is a well known line from one of my favourite songs and says ‘And so when I am in the storm, Lord the storm is not in me’. Little did I realise at the time how important those words would be to me and those around me in this last week. For everyone, this last week has been challenging as we face the uncertainty of what’s to come but the one thing that we can be certain of is that God is not, and has never been, caught out. There is no need for us to become caught up in the storm that surrounds us because we have a God on whom we can trust and on whom we can put our hope. There have been so many situations on a daily basis over this last week where humanly it would be so easy to feel panicked or anxious but each time the knowledge that the storm needn’t be within me has enabled me to remain calm and be a voice of hope and reason with colleagues, parents and children. Like most people these last few days haven’t been easy and I’ve certainly had my emotional highs and lows but I have always been able to come back to a settled peace within that says my foundations lie on something solid and unshakeable.
As a teacher, it has been emotionally challenging to know that there is a possibility of not teaching these children again. From the start of the year teachers set goals and aspirations for their pupils and invest absolutely everything in to trying to help them become the best that they can be. We’re hitting a time of year when things begin to really click and we see such progress, not just academically, but in them as people. The pain of potentially not seeing this year through with my class really hit as I drove in to work Friday morning. However as I drove I was given a picture from God. He showed me a beautiful flower, similar to a tulip, that was ready to bloom, the colour of its flower beginning to push through and yet as I was appreciating the beauty of this flower the top was cut off right in front of me. This was a perfect representation of how the situation felt inside. But this picture was immediately followed by the promise that the love and attention given to this flower during its growth was not wasted. The goodness would filter down the stem back in to the roots and a time would come when this flower would blossom once again and the investment in it would not be wasted. This promise has meant so much to me within my situation as a teacher but I truly believe that it can be applied to so many of our situations. Nothing with God is wasted. Every situation brings about an opportunity to grow and to discover more of ourselves, each other and to deepen our walk with God. At the end of the day on Friday many of our parents and pupils stayed on, chatting with staff and sharing concerns and hopes with each other. As we waved goodbye, for now, we headed back inside and as I walked in to the office I saw one of my pupils suddenly turn and run back down the path and through the school gates heading for the front door. I went back to meet her and on opening the door she flung her arms around me and sobbed. This wasn’t a 7 year old being overly dramatic, this was a 7 year expressing her fears over the uncertainty of the next few weeks. Children, like adults, need routine and structure and, for these children, many of whom are too young to understand the full scale of what’s happening, the loss of that structure and familiarity is significant. This girl was simply looking for security and reassurance in an unsettling time. We mustn’t be afraid to express how we feel and to know that it is perfectly understandable. The key through this all is to keep talking, to keep making contact with people and to know that we aren’t alone.
I thought I would finish on a slightly lighter note. I briefly popped out of my classroom this week to just deliver a message to one of the other teachers. On my return I found my class all gathered near the door. As I walked in they all let out a big sigh and one of them exclaimed ‘ Oh you’re back. We thought you’d gone to heaven.’ I laughed and explained that I wasn’t planning on going to heaven yet. As I sat down another child piped up ‘Yes but it’s OK because we’ll go to heaven too and so we’ll see you there’. I smiled and before I could respond a third child called out ‘ And just think that when we’re all in Heaven you can still teach us’ and with that the whole class cheered. Now there’s a thought!