Sunday, February 10, 2008

calling out

Lately during worship (which I have come to enjoy far more than before) I have been a) singing (what?!?) and b) finding myself thinking & praying about different students. My most favorite songs are about how the imperfections of humanity are just alright with Jesus, and our population of kids (or let's say teens in general) so magnify their flaws that life - and certainly the possibility of salvation - seems crushingly difficult.

Today our pastor talked about 'calling out' the names not only of those for whom we are thankful and those who have been saved, but also of those we hope to lead to God. This speaks to me because I see so much sadness and distress in the faces (and words) of my students, it can be overwhelming. My job is to teach them creative writing and speech skills. But I can't not try to help them see some brightness in a dark world, to believe for every ugly moment they've endured, a couple better ones are waiting. Of course I do not testify in the classroom - all I have to do is behave around these kids in a way that shows God's love; we don't have to discuss why I am compassionate and understanding (even in the midst of saying "No, I will not let you leave for lunch early, but thanks for asking" or "I'll just hold your phone in this basket for the rest of class, thanks!"). My faith lets me turn over the burden of their hard times and delight in whatever connections we can make.

So I came home today prepared to write a lovely, simple post about the names I will call. And then I got news about a student who took his own life last night. All I can say is I'm calling louder now.

10 comments:

Mrs. G. said...

Oh, Stephanie, I am so sorry. This is unbelievably sad.

Lisa Milton said...

I can only say it over & over again: It's so sad and I'm so sorry.

You & your students will be on my mind tomorrow.

Suzanne said...

Oh wow. I'm sorry. A beautifully written piece on an incredibly touching subject. Keep doing what you do, and helping those you can. God hears you...

I AM VERY MARY said...

I truly believe, as a fellow teacher, that you have just received the hardest news ever. Cyber hugs and warm tea and heartstrings and blessings.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

This has taken my breath away. I'm so sorry.

elaine@bloginmyeye said...

Lord, have mercy. And Amen. I'll be calling out with you today.

Anonymous said...

beautifully written indeed- I suspect we'll all be calling out louder today- karolyn

diyfather.com said...

Hi - have just come across your site. I'm Scott from www.diyfather.com - we are an online interactive forum for fathers based in New Zealand.

I was wondering whether you might be interested in a link exchange or posting a monthly summary of father related issues from our blog.

Please reply to scott@diyfather.com

Thanks Scott

katydidnot said...

i'm sorry. i'm sad. be well.

Mari said...

Stephanie...I'm sad to say, I've had the experience of having students who have died, and dealing with the aftermath, though not through suicide. The most recent was the loss of an entire family of five over Christmas break (car accident with black ice) last year. It is so hard to be the shepherd in the midst of your own grief.

I'm not sure what the options are in your school, but the classrooms kept the kids' (fourth, fifth, and seventh grades) desks empty as a memorial. The students chose it as a way of reminding them their friends were still with them.

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