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Me, God, and my Classroom Cleanup

Last week was a challenging week. It ended with me heading into my classroom to gather and place all student belongings into bags in order to shut it down. Before this day even came I knew it would be a tough one. It was going to be a day that would cause me to feel the sting of sadness for this year as well as feel the sting of pain from when I was a second grader. As I entered the room, my heart was heavy and twisted with emotions. Immediately I was met with memories of me in second grade. I was back in my second grade classroom, standing with my mom and teacher. My mom was ushering me to quickly gather all of my things. She was sad, my teacher was sad, and I was confused. I quickly learned that the previous day was the last time I would ever see my classmates and my teacher. I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

As I stood in the doorway of my classroom that morning, a golf ball-sized lump seized my throat. I didn’t get to say goodbye so many years ago, and now I was faced with the same sadness all over again. Yes, I get to say goodbye over Zoom calls, or telephone calls, but I don’t get a goodbye in person.

I don’t get to give hugs, high fives, or laugh and cry with my students on the last day of the school year. My students don’t get to say goodbye either.

I took a deep breath, and did what I am good at doing...depending on my self reliance to get me through. I walked into my room that has been untouched for six weeks and immediately made a plan. First this, then this. I began working at quite an efficient speed. I was getting things done and as long as I was busy that lump in my throat and my heavy heart couldn’t compete.

Being busy made me okay. Or at least that’s what I told myself.

About 30 minutes into my busyness of getting things done and ignoring my feelings, text messages from friends and my husband began coming in ... We are praying for you. You are loved. You are seen. Then my principal walked into my room. As she entered she simply asked, “How are you doing?” At that point, I was okay and that’s what I replied. I said it’s a hard day, but I’m okay. She left, and I immediately froze. I thought or felt as though God showed me ... No, you’re not really okay today. I began to tear up.

God was with me the entire morning. He used the voices of friends and loved ones to show me how I was seen and loved.

He used my principal to cause me to pause in the moment and to just be ... to just be embraced by Him. The One who knows the little girl and the present day story that I was fighting against. There was nothing left at that moment except for me to fall into His loving arms and just be for a moment.

So, I stood there in my empty room with tears flowing down my cheeks, but feeling comfort and peace at the same time. I sat in my pain for a few moments next to the One who promises to never leave me. I allowed my pain to be held by Him, and in this moment, I was okay. I wasn’t okay when I allowed busyness to cloud my true feelings.

I was okay when I allowed Jesus to hold my pain with me.

By Laura Ricks

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