On Wednesday I started a fieldwork assignment in N—— School. This assignment is for my Practicum class from the teaching credential program at M——.
Since I dropped out of a credential program last fall, I’ve had plenty to keep me busy. We spruced up and packed our too numerous belongings and moved “into town”. After moving in, we settled as quickly as possible and started throwing things out.
Then my elderly grandparents moved in with us to receive more care. No one realized it, but Grandma was already suffering with her last illness. She spent a few weeks with us, visited the hospital, came back, and then after another 10 days at the hospital, went to meet Jesus face to face. We were able to spend her last hours surrounding her bedside, holding hands, praying, singing, and telling her how much we loved her. After the memorial service, Grandpa moved back to the city that he’d spent his entire life in so that he could be close to Grandma’s grave.
It still seems unreal at times. You see a living, breathing person in front of you. Any second they could stop breathing and die but they don’t let go until all their children arrive and say goodbye. The breaths become shallower and choked while the monitors beep warningly. Finally, it seems like that is the last breath. But there is one more and then then the red thread on the screen flatlines, reads zero, and cries a steady tone. You look back, and the body that was a person one second earlier, has turned into a shell–obviously empty. The face is empty, the glazed eyes are covered over, the mouth hangs open and can’t be closed. The body is already decaying and in a week more is hidden in the earth. The person left behind trinkets, books, and clothes, but it seems strange that the things are still here since the former owner isn’t. The owner has simply vanished in an instant, and cannot be found anywhere on earth. But to be absent from the body and hidden from our sight means that she is present with the Lord and sees Him revealed in all His glory.
Through the summer, we’ve continued to get rid of things and to try to live with not much more than what we use on a daily or weekly basis. Except for the books, of course, there is still a bookcase in most rooms. We read. I worked at the pool again this summer– something I said I wouldn’t do. From the outside, my life looks like it’s in exactly the same spot as it was a year ago. Just finishing up a summer of lifeguarding and hoping I won’t be back, starting a credential program, thinking I’ll graduate in a year and be able to get a teaching job. Sometimes I still wonder if I shouldn’t have just stuck it out for two more quarters and have finished already, with all the classmates I’ve known for years. But those are just momentary twinges.
I’m really excited to start classes on Monday and see what happens through the next year. It’s weird to sit in a classroom and not know anybody but that will change in a few weeks. One of the students happens to be a girl I knew when we were both children. The professors prayed before we started the orientation meeting and also encouraged us to dress professionally and modestly so as to preserved a good testimony of the gospel to teachers in schools who may never have known a real Christian. Fancy that! It was like a dream!
After a long week of working at the pool, traveling down to the school, and getting up early and going to bed late, I am exhausted. I’m already getting used to waking up at 5am, though, and I like the early morning more than I used to. I went to the chiropractor Friday afternoon and fell asleep during a mechanical exercise that has you lay on a table and use the device for 10 minutes. I was actually dreaming and startled awake when the timer went off.
Now I see many things in a dream…some past events feel like a dream, I dream when I’m too tired, and I dream of things to come.