Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What I've Learned, Summer 2010 Edition

*A while back, I went through a very challenging time.  After a couple of months, I sat down and reflected on what I had learned and the events had shaped character.  Given the last 41 days alone, I just needed to reflect.*

Hi Friends,
So Summer 2010 is drawing to a close.  And what a summer it's been.  This was the summer I was going to grow out my hair, get a tan, take off the extra weight, take some classes, get my classroom in order early and really enjoy myself.  And very little of that has been accomplished.

Yes, my hair is longer.  I am working on a decent farmer's tan.  I will have completed two more classes on the way to finishing my master's degree.  And all that feels good.  However, two five letter words got in the way of exercising and eating properly (though to be perfectly honest, I really want to send Ben & Jerry a thank you note for making some ice cream that has gotten me through some rough patches) and being the organization queen that my soul longs to be.

And there is a part of me that just wants to stop and reflect about what I have learned this summer.  So here goes...

On the academic side, I can mark the theoretical iambic pentameter of anything Shakespearean work you set in front of me.  When it comes to marking the actual stress patterns though, it gets ugly.  However, I feel much more confident about reading Shakespeare infront of people.  And while I still can't understand why people consider King Lear to be one of his greatest works, A Midsummer Night's Dream brings such a smile to my face.  That class also taught me a lot about working through things-three hours of homework every night while dealing with family issues was how I envisioned the summer.  But it's made me stronger.  And that's always a good thing.

My education class has been really helpful.  Not nearly as much homework (which was good because on any given day I had to run to the hospital, doctor, therapist, or pharmacy) and I knew I could apply the knowledge I received.  Plus, the people in it are fun.  In a summer that has not been filled with an overabundance of fun, to have a slight chuckle at anything has not been overlooked.

And then you get into the serious things... 

Don't take a moment for granted.  The day Daddy had his stroke was the most beautiful day ever.  That morning, I was making plans and would have never imagined the incident and ensuing chaos.  If you find yourself in the middle of something sweet, nice, or even boring, savor it. Life will turn on a dime, and you just don't know the things you'll miss.  I honestly can't recall the last time my dad drove me some place and it's silly, but it makes me crazy.  Now I'm the chauffeur.  There's a poem in a book (I forget which one) that talks about a normal day.  It talks about cherishing the normal day.  Previously, I'd always associated it with the loss of a loved one, but now it has new meaning.

If you have one good friend, don't take them for granted.  There were people who really went out of their way to call, text, facebook and email to check on our family.  And those kindnesses will always be remembered.

I can't ever recall a summer that has been this full of lessons.  And it's been busy.  There's always someplace I'm rushing to.  There's meals that need to be prepared.  Dishes that need to be washed.  And laundry.  And homework.  A lot of times I feel like a failure because in the midst of this busy-ness, I'm not always kind.  I know I have much to be grateful for, but don't often act like it.

However, I cling to fact that God is loving.  He is sovereign.  And He is working all the time, though I may not see it or feel it.  And I have to hold to the promise is Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for them that love God".  In these trying times, God is still there, He is not resting.   And even if I don't see it or feel feel it, God is working, doing good things.  The results may not be immediate, but they will be revealed in His time.

And that may be the most important lesson of all.

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