It's Friday morning (yes, I'm aware that I'm writing and posting this on a Saturday night, but for the sake of this story, pretend it is Friday morning. Please). It is the final Friday of your teaching practicum and for the first time in over two months you are running late (and by "running later" I mean you are only going to get to the school forty-five minutes before class starts... not two hours). Your eyes feel as though they could close for eternity. The skin of your face feels tight, like butter spread over too much bread (because quoting Bilbo makes you feel better), and as you glance in your rearview mirror you catch a glimpse of your reflection that sends tremors through your being. The shadows you worked so hard to disguise only an hour earlier have been washed clean by your recently-shed tears, causing the resemblance that has been growing all semester between you the zombies from The Walking Dead to become undeniably apparent.
This glimpse is all it takes. Your exhausted eyes begin to fill with tears yet again and as you take a deep breath to try to quell their shedding, the breath turns into a shudder and the tears break loose.
You try to regain control. You try to pray.
All you can utter is, "God, I can't do this."
Your body feels weak as you maneuver your car onto the highway. All you want to do is turn around, crawl back into your small, hard, uncomfortable bed, burrow into the blankets, and disappear from the world.
Instead you keep driving.
Just as your eyes feel like they are going to glaze over your breath catches in your throat.
It's spring on the West coast, and this means not only that it rains only slightly less than in the winter but that the trees are blossoming. And by blossoms I mean branches laden with gorgeous, pale pink blooms.
(if only I was also travelling down a fence-lined dirt lane too)
"I love you."
I'm fairly certain those were the words being uttered to me as I took on the view.
And with their utterance I felt that peace. That perfect peace that passes understanding.
Now for some context :)
As I have mentioned before, my full-immersion practicum is done. Right now is my "phase-out" period, where I hand back the reins to my mentor teachers and go back to being an observer. Should be stress-free, right?
I think we have established the fact that I don't sleep particularly well. And for the last two weeks my sleep has been plagued with "school dreams"--the ones where you are doing everything wrong. The kind of dreams that make you wake up in the morning convinced you are going to fail your practicum (even though you know that you aren't going to fail). This week was my final exam conference. You see, I had to write a final report about my practicum experience and how I have grown, my Faculty Associate had to write a report, and my two School Associates had to write a report.
Even though I knew I passed, I was still nervous.
My conference went better than I could have expected. I received some pretty high praise. My one SA told me that while he has had other student teachers, and they were all good, none of them had teaching in their DNA. He said I was born to teach. I'm the first student teacher my other SA has had and he said I set the bar really high. My FA told him he hit the jackpot by getting me.
Incredible, right? I had to try not to break down in front of these three men as they said this.
So my nerves should have been set aright. Right?
But they weren't.
Because now that this one hurdle has been crossed, I have to cross the next.
I need a job.
I'm moving to Ontario in four months (yikes... that is coming fast)... and it would be wonderful if I had a way to support myself.
At this moment in time there isn't anything I can do about that. But that doesn't change the fact that I felt immense stress over this issue.
I also got hit with a massive car bill and I had to ask my parents for help. I was so proud of the fact that I was able to make it through this semester without asking them for financial aid (last semester was pretty humbling for me with respects to that).
So by Friday morning I'm feeling about as stressed as I can feel. And I'm trying really hard not to vent to anyone about it because I figure no one really wants to hear about it, and most of my friends/family are also stressed, so they don't need me dumping on them (poor Charming... he didn't get the dumping but he definitely got my mood... but more on that later).
As I'm getting ready to head out the door my Mom calls me. What ensues is about a twenty minute phone call where I finally let loose. And my Mom proves to be incredibly understanding. She sends me a hug via the phone and prays with me. And with that I'm rushing out the door, no time to fix my now broken face.
I'm sure I could go into more detail, but this is getting long enough as it is.
The point is, the beauty of these trees began to break through all of the stress, fear, and hurt that I was harbouring. I knew God was trying to get my attention. You see, I wasn't even fully confiding in Him about all I was feeling. I would tell Him snippets, and then I would stop. I don't know why, I just know this is what I did. So instead God got moody silence from me
Kind of like how poor Charming couldn't say anything this week without me taking some sort hurt from it (I keep hoping that he didn't fully notice and just assumed that some of my biting replies were merely sarcasm... the one perk of a relationship where most of our communication is through writing?). By the time I got to my school I was beginning to realize all that I had put him and God through this week. Both of them received an apology.
After school I drove out to my brother's place for the weekend (had to get my car fixed). Along the way I was struck by how lush everything was. The trees had far more buds on them than they had even a week ago. It was rainy, but the sky was a dark, foreboding grey that cries out to every creative bone in my body. I could tell this was having some sort of an effect on me, but still didn't know to what extent.
That night Charming went out of his way to let me know he cared. Which in a way made me feel worse. But it also made me better understand something I don't think I fully understood before.
God loves me unconditionally.
I have honestly been a mess emotionally this week (can't even blame PMS). It has been over things out of my control, things I can't do anything about, and maybe that is why they have bothered me to such an extent.
I wouldn't have blamed Charming if he decided he wanted nothing to do with me. Many are the times I lament my emotionalism and wish I could trade it for a calm, collected rationalism. Instead he was patient and cared for me.
Kind of like how God gave me the blossoming trees and foreboding sky.
God took the beauty of nature to remind me that despite my craziness and despite the unknown that lies before me, He still loves me. He took the beauty of Charming's words and time to remind me of His own unconditional love.
Despite my resembling a member of the undead horde, God wooed me. Despite the fact that I was trying to keep my worries and fears from Him (silly, I know) and wasn't talking to Him, God wooed me.
He is continually taking what I would call my un-beauty and is reminding me that in His eyes I'm still beautiful. He still loves me.