Today was a different start to a new year than I have ever had before. No, it was not the french toast for breakfast (new tradition), but rather going to a memorial "Celebration of Life" ceremony for a former 5th grade student and her younger brother. I was touched and deeply moved by the things said by these kids about their two friends. I was overcome with emotion at the realization of the loss of innocence on the field. I was not a typical teacher, but a teacher who truly felt that each child entrusted to me in that classroom was a part of me. So, losing one so tragically gets me in my core.
I was blessed to sit by another former student from my first class. Aaron was very dear to me as he was diagnosed with a blood condition that year that prevented him from playing outside at recess-we spent a lot of time together. He is a young man now-football player, aspiring to be a fire fighter, same smile....
My 'kids' were not just kids.....sure, some came in and left both of us seemingly untouched, but there were many who changed me and I them. A connection that was unique and beautiful. I am so honored that they would make an effort to keep in touch-to hear that I am talked about or referred to after the years that have gone by humbles me.
This was a different entrance in to the new year. I have been looking at my girls so much differently since this accident. A reminder from my God that I am to hold them in my hands lightly. They are not mine to dictate their time line, their purpose, or their life. I want so badly to protect them from all harm, hurt, and fear-but I am reminded that I do not know what is best. He does. He is not ever wrong. Will I still thwart off evil as I see it coming? Yes. Will I cover their ears when innocence is about to be lost? Yes. Will I hold them closer? Longer? Tighter? Yes. But knowing in my heart it is not for me to decide.
I am not saddened by this, yet there is a strange comfort in it all. I am no Abraham, but I trust my Lord. Now, that is a great way to enter a new year.