Weight of Trust

Muscles tighten
Tossing, turning
Desperately
Needing rest
And though
Not out loud-
Crying on
The inside

Like a baby
With heavy eyes
Unable to give
Up the fight
Unable to accept
The balance of
Floating between
Strength and calm

If only the
Little one
Understood-
Giving in for
A few brief
Moments will
Bring perfect,
Peaceful sleep

If only the
Little one
Would trust
And settle into
The strong arms
Simply holding her
Tight enough to
Offer security

If only I
Could remember
And embrace
The heaviness-
Welcome sleep
And rest in
The graceful
Weight of trust

Child Falling Asleep by Robert Schumann~~Kelley Morris, piano

Let Go

I wrote this poem yesterday. The same applies today, I’m afraid. Just different levels of worry. Different levels of seeking control. I keep telling myself this is not the time for opinions. And that not everyone agrees with me anyway-shock, I know. 😉

It is difficult, however, to remain calm and consistent when so many others are expressing opinions concerning what school should look like during this worldwide pandemic. Those opinions have the potential to affect me as a teacher, as a wife, as a mother.

So, I will not share any opinions today, only this thought. Continue striving to let go…

The Anxious Me

The anxious me
Keeps dropping by
I must admit
She is not
My favorite
Always grasping
For control of
Things that are
Out of her reach
Not logical
I realize
But here she is
In the flesh
Short visits
Are acceptable
Long enough to
Bring awareness
But extended stays
Become tiresome
Weighed down with
So much worry
She has been here
Most of the day
Time for her to go-
With compassion
Of course-so I can
Rest, focusing only
On what matters
Nothing else
Not giving in
Or giving up
Just releasing the
Concerns of today

Trust

Morning birds
Sing their songs
Outside the window-
A quick look
Proves disappointing
Despite full feeders
No feathered
Friends in sight-
Singing continues
Hidden from view
Perhaps, it’s a
Matter of trust-
After too many
Days of visiting
Empty feeders
They stopped coming-
The consistency and
Routine required to
Maintain any sense
Of trust was broken
Nourishment once
Freely provided was
No longer available-
Only for a short time
Yet, with consequences
Hiding replaced sharing
Security turned to fear-
Forgiveness takes time
Faith renewed only as
Needs are met with
Feeders kept full
Under the shade
Of the trees
Day after day
Regaining trust-
A poignant truth
Regarding birds-
Yet, how much more
Important where
People are concerned

Impressions

First impressions
Mysteries
Unfinished pictures
Incomplete
Look closer
Each individual
A series of chapters
A personal story
Brushstrokes
In a painting
Notes
In a song
Carefully pieced together-
A masterpiece
Viewed separately-
Misunderstood
Understanding
Requires willingness
To trust
And be trusted
Shines light
On the fragments
Solves the puzzle
Reveals the person
Truly knowing
Takes time
But, oh, what joy
To understand
To experience
A beautiful mystery
The soul who leaves
A lasting impression

Debussy Prelude No. 8, La Fille aux cheveux de lin

Breathe

Too much time and energy

Spent fretting over things

Far beyond my grasp

Tension…all it brings

Why such a battle

Between control and trust?

Learn to embrace the latter

Learn to ignore the first

There is a bigger picture

One I hope to see

If only I will let go

Allow myself to breathe

A Little While

“…What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14

How do I balance living in the moment with wisely planning for the future? If thinking only of today, will the future take care of itself? My heart says, “I know I’m not guaranteed another day.” My actions do not always match.

This is my tenth year as a public-school teacher. I’ve been in my current building for nine years, my longest stint in any job. Equal to the number of years I was a stay-at-home-mom. Cue feelings of restlessness.

Next week is spring break, followed by the final nine weeks. A flurried push to end the year strong is filled with activities. The toughest part of the year.

I am tired. Thoughts of, “How many more years can I do this?” begin to play over and over in my head. A desire for change creeps in, negatively affecting my mood. This describes my mindset for the past couple of weeks.

Suddenly, in the middle of the tiredness, a fleeting thought. Quickly dismissed. Did not write it down, afraid to say it out loud. But this thought would not leave me alone.

What if I continued teaching for ten more years?

I could look back and say, “Wow! I taught elementary school for twenty years!” An accomplishment I would be proud of. Imagine how many students would cross my path. But it sounds like such a long time…

Trust me, these ideas reflect the complete opposite of my recent list of wants:

  • Spend more time playing the piano
  • Search out new accompanying opportunities
  • Teach piano lessons again

At least, I think those are the things I want to do. Truthfully, at this moment I don’t know what I want to do. And that is ok. Maybe “not knowing” is a safe place to remain for now.

Whether I teach one more year or ten, I must give it my best. Allow some new life to be breathed into my teaching. Somehow James 4:14, “…a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes,” makes that feel possible. It may not be logical, but such is faith.

Feels like I have walked in one big circle. Now back at the beginning, I need to listen, reflect, and rest. And trust that is enough.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’-yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

Right Where We Left Off

I love the way certain friendships seem to transcend time and space. Life’s circumstances may take us far away from each other. Yet when our paths cross again, we pick up right where we left off. When reunited, it feels like nothing has changed and no time has passed.

Today I realized how much I take this phenomenon for granted. I always thought of it as a natural occurrence. Something you simply experience over time, not something you are taught. Maybe that comes from growing up in a loving home, having friends from an early age.

But what happens when a child grows up in the opposite?

Rachel and I took a little road trip to visit our sweet friend, Marie. Our short visit was well worth the almost three-hour drive. We had Christmas presents to deliver and it had been several months since we’d seen her. The year prior to her foster home placement, Rachel and I saw her almost weekly, so we were very excited about this visit! (See earlier post for more of Marie’s story.) https://pianogirlthoughts.wordpress.com/2018/08/13/face-to-face-with-child-abuse-personal-reflections-of-a-teacher/

Marie had requested Braum’s for our meeting place. You can’t go wrong with ice cream! We arrived, all smiles and ready for hugs. Her initial reaction was interesting. Lots of eye rolls and shoulder shrugs in response to our questions and attempts at conversation.

Her foster mom reassured us she had been really excited to see us. We trusted this was true, she was just not quite ready to show it. With patience and persistence (about 10-15 minutes worth) Marie was smiling, holding Rachel’s hand and laying her head on my shoulder. Finally, we were right where we left off.

On the drive home I was thinking about our visit, trying not to cry. Those goodbye hugs do it every time. Not to mention my daughter saying things like, “You’re doing really good, Mom.” 😉

As Rachel and I talked about the day, it suddenly hit me. Of course Marie would have reacted that way. This child has never had a secure home, was abused for years, tossed from one facility to another. And on top of all that, she has developmental disabilities. Before she was finally placed in this amazing foster home, the uncertainty of her future was difficult for her to understand.

We often had the following conversation:

Marie: What if I go someplace else?
Me: What are we?
Marie: My friends.
Me: Yes. And wherever you go, we will see you.
Marie: Ok.

Then she would smile. And that explanation would suffice for maybe a week…or a day. Now that she is in a loving home, our conversations have changed. She laughs as she tells me about her mom, dad, siblings, and extended family when we talk on the phone. She enjoys going to school and is making new friends. She is happy.

Marie knows we love her, but we cannot expect her to understand this idea of “picking up where you left off” just yet. She will need to experience it many times. Hopefully, time will continue to heal. And maybe one day she will be able to trust that we are true friends. Friends who pick up right where they left off, no matter the miles apart or the time gone by.

We Need Each Other

As Thanksgiving weekend 2018 comes to an end, I’m reminded of this truth. It may sound obvious, but for some reason can be difficult to admit. We often think the true test of success is independence. Hearing phrases like-“Be your own person!” “Do it your way!” “No one can stand in your way!”-push us toward a conquer the world attitude.

Maybe there are bits of merit/truth in those statements but they can’t represent our end goal. If that’s the case, the result will most likely be loneliness and isolation. In some ways, it’s actually harder to admit how much we need others than to be independent. It requires a level of openness that we tend to avoid.

A relative recently said to me, “You have no idea how much I need you guys.” Wow! Simultaneously simple yet powerful.  My first thought was, “We need you too!”  So why didn’t I automatically respond that way?

This admission made me think about my own life. There’s no doubt I need my friends and family. I need them to share in times of celebration as well as times of sorrow. They help give meaning and purpose to my life. And letting them know is important.

Expressing these sentiments gives those around us the opportunity to show love and support, to feel needed. If we trust others enough to admit how much we need their presence in our lives, our journey will be so much richer. Getting through difficult times will become a joint effort. Instead of feeling like we’re stranded on a deserted island, we will realize that we are not alone.

The truth is, we have no idea how much we need each other until faced with life’s difficulties. And those come when we least expect them. When they do, we can’t be afraid to say, “I need you.” Although it won’t take away the weight, it has the power to provide comfort by allowing someone else to share the burden.

No matter the circumstance, we need each other.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

”Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. ” Clarence-It’s a Wonderful Life

Happy Thanksgiving!