I want to remember this moment. This moment where everything is new, my classroom set-up is different, my kids are different, my curriculum is different in some ways, my team is different, and I hope, I am different.
I changed last year – mostly not for the better. Slowly but surely I was discouraged, disheartened, depressed. There were dark days in the midst of last year, and I spend a lot of time fearing that they will return this year. They probably won’t.
But they might.
I want to remember this moment, because a few days ago, I finally returned to the book A Praying Life, and began reading, hoping it would hold some magic. Truth be told, I don’t love the book – the writing just isn’t my style. Even so, God has been speaking to me through it, and so I keep reading. One of the things that stuck with me, as I sat reading by the fire pit on the Cape, was the fact that I can use my anxiety as a reminder to pray. I can ask God to renew my spirit, to change my day, to change my feelings, to change my heart. As I drove back to Boston, and I felt my chest tighten with each passing mile I prayed. I can’t even remember what I prayed, but I committed that feeling to God, and then I did it again, and again, and again through Sunday night, Monday, and into Tuesday morning. I woke up early – 4 a.m. – and couldn’t sleep soundly again as my stomach started turning circles. I prayed, and drifted off, not into the best sleep, but into sleep nonetheless.
At work today, I was greeted by hug after hug and was reminded of how much I love the people I work with. One of my teammates remarked, “you seem so much happier this year!” I took a moment to reflect, and realized that for this morning at least, it was true. I was still anxious, I am still terrified of what the year holds, but the anxiety is different – for today at least, I remembered to commit it to God.
So, that’s my prayer for this year. That I would pray. That I would remember that when my chest tightens and I don’t think I can do it. That I would remember that when I get that nasty e-mail from a parent. That I would remember that when I am anxious about what my boss thinks of me. That I would remember that desperate feeling from last year, and that it would compel me to my knees. I pray that I would be changed so that prayer becomes second nature. I pray that I would pray.