One Room Schoolhouse from 1918
I hold in my hand the same book my grandmother held in hers over 100 years ago. It is the BOOK ONE reader from the one room schoolhouse where she was the teacher.
Its pages are yellowed with years, and marked with over a century of fingerprints, hers mingled with mine. As a child it was one of my favorite books. I spent hours of class time at the family chalkboard teaching the same lessons again and again to the kitchen table full of students. Of course, my students were stuffed with fluff or had china doll faces frozen in expression. Chalk dust was scattered like a glitter bomb everywhere on the counter beneath the chalkboard and covering Tupperware canisters. It made it’s way across the floor onto the pages of this book I hold today.
There are many ‘one room schoolhouse’ tables across our country today in the middle of this pandemic. Each day we are awakened to our own classroom of learning and glitter bombed thoughts that scatter everywhere. They make their way across our life counters, leaving traces in our footprints. Our Adult Learning classroom bell has rung and God has a lesson plan for each of us today.
These recent weeks have held great lessons for my heart to learn that I am still taking notes on. The lesson plan has one word written across the chalkboard: JESUS.
Restrictions of COVID have placed rigid separations which include no closure to grieving the loss of my beloved Aunt and Uncle. No last goodbyes, no funerals, no embraces as a family- JESUS.
When my groanings have been too deep for words in the traumatic death of my father-in-law who lost his life while night fishing, alone, on a lake -JESUS.
When my oncologists gives me the initial pathology report as a return of my lung cancer and instructions to set up an appointment to discuss radiation, chemo and or surgery- JESUS.
When family ties and hearts are ripping apart in the enemy’s grip, his accent of confusion thrown into each conversation leaving hopelessness as his goal – JESUS.
I am in a class room with you and you are with me. We have a class bully who is from the pit of hell and wants to boss our souls into the corner until we comply to his demands. Satan has a plan and the name JESUS is not a part of it!
So while in my life, or possibly yours, there are layers of pain that include deferred grief, there are also the moments when we rejoice together with answers that are nothing short of – JESUS!
Let’s be reminded today that God has a class plan already written for us before any of our days came to be. It is not from BOOK ONE written a century ago – but from ONE BOOK, His Word, written thousands of years ago with today in sight and perfectly planned for you and for me. (Psalm 139).
Tears of grief have fallen on my lesson pages but by His sustaining comfort He sits with me through them and wipes them in empathy and weeps with me, as he has done for me in the loss and deferred grief of my Aunt and Uncle. – JESUS
Tears of joy have ‘glittered’ my lesson page as God reminded me that His healing grace came unexpectedly when a doctor changed my diagnosis and cannot explain how the tumor that tested as cancer ten days earlier, is now cancer free! -JESUS
Tears of mercy still fall on my lesson page as I revisit the truth that my father-in-law was not on that lake alone in his last hours of life. God was with him each moment. –JESUS
The chalkboard from my childhood has long been discarded but the memories are still sweet to recall. Memories that remind me there is a Teacher at our side. He delights to ‘glitter’ our life like chalk dust, with truths that His peace passes all understanding, His sustaining arm is trustable and His joy comes in the morning.
Someday we will hear the sound of ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ and graduate this earthly classroom where we will join together as classmates, as followers of Christ and worship Him forever. No pain. No sorrow. No tears… (and no bully allowed). JESUS.