Two steps forward and one step back

This has been a long week. Whatever honeymoon period students and teachers begin the year with is over.  I’ve rearranged the seating chart and stepped out into the hall to speak with a couple of them one-on-one. Its all good. I love my students and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see myself at that age in one (or two) of them. This week, in the classroom, has just reminded me that teaching is hard work.

Then there’s my lower back. If I were Rip Van Winkle, my lower back would play the character of Dame Van Winkle. If you haven’t read RVW by Washington Irving or just haven’t read it lately, I’ll wait right here while you fetch that copy of the Norton Anthology of American Literature from the shelf. Yeah. That’s how frustrating my lower back has been this week.

Next up is the heartache. One of our staff members’ mother had cancer surgery yesterday. They didn’t get it all and chemo treatments will start soon. Watching your friends experience heartache is hard. My own Grandfather spent some time in the hospital this week and we’ve all been worried for him as well.

And finally the Pothos. I have a golden Pothos plant in the yard here that I’m really fond of. Seriously, it’s a specimen to behold. It had really been spreading this past year, up the trunk of the coconut palm, along the wall and up the wrought iron. It adds some real green to my world, provides a bit of privacy (nice, when you live on a corner) and I just really like Philodendrons and Pothos varieties (all kinds of epiphytes really). Long story short, the man downstairs who owns this house (and vacations here in Haiti) cut a LOT of my plant out and off of the wall. He didn’t ask us about it, we just came home and a lot of it was gone. He’s here for three months of the year and he’s messing with my plants. This is the same man who was responsible for us having to get rid of our dogs. Please Mister, go home.

I want to be like Christ. I want to love others like Christ. I want my compassion to overflow like Christ. Every once in a while I get a glimpse of what that looks like in my life. Sometimes it happens in the classroom other times in the streets. When it does happen, I feel that I’m moving in the right direction, ‘pressing on to take hold’ as Paul says in Philippians 3:13. But then a week like this one comes along, and I find myself  getting frustrated in the classroom, hurting physically and emotionally,  and angry at another person because they cut down a plant.

My maturity in Christ always seems to be two steps forward, one step back.

Please keep our families and the work before us in your prayers.