Sunday, February 12, 2017
We kicked off last week by hosting a Super Bowl party. It was a fairly last-minute decision, which made it extra brave. The truth is: there reaches a point in your crap storm at which you're very nearly overcome with insecurity. This is especially true when your crap storm is just the latest of multiple crap storms. You start to wonder what people are thinking. Are they thinking you're bringing it upon yourself in some way? That you're being punished? Are they sick and tired of your suffering self? And honestly, even if you're able to answer no-no-no, you feel guilty that your friends (such good people) have sat with you through so much crap. You don't want to ask for help; you don't even want to ask for company.
We were extra brave, asking friends over for the Super Bowl at the last minute, so we felt very glad and relieved (also a little bit guilty) when they came, bearing tons of amazing food to include some apple cake that made my eyes well up when I bit into it.
I started my new teaching job on Tuesday. When I first visited this school just before Christmas, I thought it felt like a perfect fit, and eighteen teaching hours later, it still does. It's the smallest, warmest place. There's a mural on one wall, decorated bulletin boards, a little free library. I write my grades in an actual book. After years of teaching composition, I'm teaching literature to adults for the first time, and my students have been so receptive, so respectful. I can hardly believe it's real.
Friday night, I photographed a ladies' event. A friend had recommended me for the job on facebook, and I messaged the person who'd placed the ad. She asked me about my rates and if I'd be interested in trading photography for gym membership. My first thought was: no. Immediately afterward, though, I thought: Jesus? Because the truth is: I need more exercise, but in this season of Jim's unemployment, any cash payment wouldn't have gone toward a gym membership. The event was held at the gym; I had an amazing time and made some new friends; and we now have a family gym membership for the next five months! Jim and I have our initial consultations on Monday.
Last week was both the third anniversary of my friend Jason Hatfield's death and Grandma B.'s 99th birthday. I miss them both so much, but ask me if I think it's a coincidence that Mr. Edwards came back to me, last week. (I'm reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter to the girls and had completely forgotten about the Ingalls family's reconnecting with Mr. Edwards.) I cried so hard I could hardly read. Ask me if I think it's a coincidence that one of my favorite co-workers from ITT will likely soon be joining me at my new school. Until Thursday, I hadn't seen him for eight years or so. I also heard, last week, from a friend from grad school with whom I'd lost touch. There were other things that happened: tickets to a marriage retreat from an anonymous friend, for example.
He gives and takes away. I really do believe that. And I guess the very best thing about a crap storm is watching the incredible ways in which God provides in the middle of it: whom He sends, and what. I believe He's for me, still; I do.