Just Look...

Just Look...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

This Incredible Job of Mine....

It's no secret to anyone that I absolutely love and adore my job. My absolute favorite parts of what I get to do all day every day are building relationships and class discussions of incredible literature. These kids who sit in my classroom every day? They are BRILLIANT. They are KIND. They are INSIGHTFUL. They are FUN. My life is enriched by my connections with them every single year. And a life that includes daily doses of Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, Joseph Conrad, Geoffrey Chaucer, Tim O'Brien, Azar Nafisi, Markus Zusak, Gerda Weissman Klein, John Donne, Andrew Marvell, and on and on and on and on??? YES, PLEASE. WHAT.A.LIFE.

My second favorite part, and a part that closely coincides with the part I DISLIKE the most ;) , is reading my students' writing (specifically their journals). I am NOT a fan of grading. I wish we could just issue grades based on involvement and excitement and connection. However, English class must include essays and tests and research and other quantifiable things, so I comply. :) Their journals, though... now those are a blast to grade. And those aid in one of my favorite parts, the relationships part. I cannot explain to you the beauty and brilliance and poetry and pain that is adolescent writing. They are just raw in their expression and it is such a privilege to be able to read them. I have had students in the past I have begged to create blogs because I would happily read their writing for pleasure ANY DAY. Some of my favorite authors are previous and current inhabitants of room 222. 

{There may or may not have been an awkward moment last year when I told a particular students I wanted to swim around in her paragraphs and wrap up in her sentences. No kidding, I am pretty much 100% sure I creeped her out for the rest of the year.}

Sometimes I read things by my kids and they just steep in my heart and soul and the piece below is one of those things. It was moving and powerful and raw and I absolutely loved it. It is part of a series this student wrote, a series of a sort of character profiles (similar to "Spoon River Anthology") and this one was just so complex and layered. I wanted to share it here so that I will always have it to reread and because someone else might enjoy this look inside the greatest job on earth. This kid's writing absolutely blows my mind.

You warned us. Youwore your hoodie way back with Trayvon Martin and you whispered “this is aproblem.” And we smiled and said it was nothing and turned away. And then ithappened again. And again. And with women and children and unarmed innocentsand by “protectors” in power. And you said that Black Lives Matter and weagreed and said that all lives mattered too and we smiled and turned away. Andthen the flags started flying and the hate started spitting out of old men’smouths and you said that antiquity doesn’t excuse racism and we smiled in shameat ourselves because you told us of the hate that had always existed and weturned away. And then the cries of “Build the Wall” echo through the cafeteriawhile the plans of making america great again- using the force of your labor,again- ran through the minds of us who smiled and nodded and turned away.
And then you screamedthat you were more than an inconvenience, more than Someone Lesser, had moresubstance than that voice that echoed in our hearts but that we still wouldn’thear. And we said that it wouldn’t be thatbad, and we smiled politely to keep the fragile peace intact. And we turnedaway.

The world is on fireand we turned away. You warned us. And we smiled nervously and we turned away.It’s to late for us to listen now. It’s too late for you to say anything else,to warn us again. Your voice is silent now, like you said it would become, andyou are so broken because Hate Won. But we make Love in small batches, locally,the violin in the void. So you show us pictures of your dog and we bake cookiesbecause you warned us and now we know."
{author kept anonymous}

Friday, January 13, 2017

On Receiving Word of our Match....

Dear F, R, and A,

I have wanted to write you a letter so many times already but I always stopped short, afraid I couldn't bear the heartache if you never came to be ours to love. Tonight, I can write this letter with total certainty that your last name will be Davis by the year's end. Because today, we got the call that we have hoped to get since August and the call we have anticipated since December. But in all honesty, it was the call we have waited for since 2002. And it was the call I have hoped and prayed for in earnest since 2008.

Do you know what I have realized, though? Do you know why we never were in a situation to get that call in 2002 or 2008 or 2010 or 2012? Because you didn't need adoptive parents in 2002 or 2008 or 2010 or 2012. And I have zero doubt that God knew when you would need adoptive parents and that all along, He had us for you and you for us. You are the sons and daughter, brothers and sister, that were meant to be ours in 2017 and we are the parents and sisters that were meant to be yours in 2017. We know that your life has not been easy and that the path that has brought you to the point where we would get to know and love you is not a path that anyone would wish for. And tonight, as I thought about all of the events that have led all seven of us to this point, I wept for your hearts. I am so grateful, so deeply thankful that I get a chance to be your mom. But the only way I am getting to be your mom is through loss. And as much as I love you already and as much as I will always love you, I would rather you had never suffered what you have.

At the same time, though, I am so thankful for a Father who ordains our steps... a Daddy who has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. This world has pain and this world has sorrow and unfortunately, you have not endured the last of it, just as we haven't either. But through it all, God holds us in the very palm of His mighty hand. And God's beautiful plan for you and for us is to bring us together right here, right now. What an amazing Heavenly Father.

So tonight, I go to bed with the deepest sense of peace and joy about our future. I wish I could explain to you the ways I have fallen in love with you from 8,635 miles away. I wish you could see the scouring I do of every single post from your orphanage to find a glimpse of your faces, the way I zoom in and out and every which way on the pictures to see every detail of you. I wish you knew how many times I have watched every video I can find in order to hear your voices. I wish you could sense the prayers I have prayed over you as I fill dressers and trade closets and paint furniture and fill out paperwork and make fundraising shirts. I wish you knew the people who are so invested in your lives and your story. I wish you could hear my students call out as they pass me in the hallways, "Any news on the adoption?" I wish you knew how impossible it was to maintain any sense of decorum today on the phone with Jenica as she shared the news that it's official.... YOU are going to be OURS and WE are going to be YOURS.

The days to come, Sweet Three, are going to be filled with great excitement on our side of the ocean but I am not naive enough to expect that they will not also be filled with great anxiety and sadness on your side. Tonight I am praying the same prayer I have prayed for months, but this time I am praying it with great conviction because this time it's REAL... I am praying for your hearts to be prepared for the news you will soon receive. I'm praying that, even though you were not here to witness all of the events in the paragraph above, that you will sense the love that we have for you. The love that not only your immediate family has, but your extended family and your future friends and your church family, people who have actually already met you and love you and can't wait to have you closer than 8,635 miles away, your future teachers, and so many more also share. And most of all, I hope that you feel with great certainty and strength that the same God you are walking with in the Philippines will be right by your side as you enter this new life. He has carried you and preserved you and He will not leave you now.

For now still a stranger, but one day soon privileged to be called,