Friday, December 19, 2014

Except that I sent an email to my beloved sister last night, Subject: road trip


Put your trust in Him always, O people, pour out your hearts before Him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:9

 And the 24/7 guy for today stood on a bridge overlooking a blustery Chicago and reminded me that when God draws near He often disrupts the ordinary to usher in the extraordinary. Mary was a sixteen-year-old girl whose ordinary life was extraordinarily interrupted by an angel of God who spoke to her life and said, “Mary, highly favored of God, God is with you and He is about to highly disrupt your life and send it in a new directions.” He continued, There may be someone right now, listening to this podcast who might be thinking that my life has been interrupted in this crazy way and I am not really sure what is going on. But a life disrupted by a God encounter may be the best gift that could ever happen, because when God disrupts a life He ushers in an extraordinary adventure. So embrace the divine chaos.

Ah, chaos. Yesterday the new teacher who is taking over my Spanish classes watched my little world of chaos as the small group projects welcomed us into their Christmas parties from around the world. And well, the powerpoints were pretty ordinary, as always, not exactly like all of the hundreds of thousands small group projects powerpoints that were happening all over this grand country of ours yesterday in lieu of the multiple page multiple choice final exam of yesteryear because these were narrated by a wide range of Spanish speakers whose occasional utterances in a fumbling Spanish set my teeth on edge and my heart into a whirlwind of dismay at the gaping holes in my instructional pedagogy.  

But afterwards while we cut small triangles from tissue paper for Mexican papeles picados while juggling sweet corn and beef tamales and menudo all of which ended up on the floor and needed to be scrubbed up with Clorax wet wipes and we ate ham rolls with olives and raisins and played marbles with chalk-drawn circles on the carpet for Costa Rica and then we ate arroz con verduras and played marbles with small rocks in those same circles because they are too poor in Perus for marbles. And the class pretty much disappeared for a long time with half the class with El Bebe Jesús and El Sabio booktaped to them and hiding and half the class seeking after I told them not to get Mrs. Voelkel in trouble on her next-to-last day by making bad choices.

The divine chaos. 

And this morning I had to scrape ice off of the windshield for the first time this winter and we couldn’t even see the time clocks because of the massive moist fog hanging over the pool so the coach had to shout out the times. And I kicked as hard as I could on those 200s so that I could earn ten-seconds rest, but sometimes I had to take little shortcuts just to get five seconds breath because I was in a too fast lane and finally I was just going around and around with no rest so I climbed out of the pool and headed for the cold showers which left me a little numb but refreshed very deeply down.

And yesterday I gave into the cheerful begging of my bestest friend from the U of A Summer Writing Workshop and visited this sixth grade Language Arts class chock full of cute low-income Hispanics and blacks and international refugees but no teacher. And there are 43 languages spoken at this TUSD school just two miles on an easy bike ride from my home. And they have had a sub every single day this year and have not read a single book but have just done photopied worksheets every single day this year and maybe they aren’t so very cute because some of the subs didn’t even last a full day but over on the shelf there is a classroom set of The Giver and I have twenty hours of engaging everything-you-should-have-learned-in-sixth-grade-but didn't lesson plans for The Giver sitting right here on my hard drive especially written for struggling students who had to take an extra two weeks of summer school in order to pass that year. But I shook my head no.Well, at least not yet.

And this afternoon we are going to the graduation of Mr. Wali who, was it six years ago? had no idea what he was getting into, but he got on the Greyhound bus and showed up in Tucson Arizona and was a Kurd sharing a bathroom with an Arab and went to the neighborhood high school for mostly exceptional needs kids and now is graduating with a double degree in physiology and business and getting The Wildcat Award presented to the senior graduating this fall who has overcome significant obstacles in front of a limited-ticket only crowd at the Eller Auditorium.

And his story speaks to my heart about getting onto the bus even if the red lettered destination is not clear.

And perennial Nobel contender Somalian-born Nuruddin Farah told Scott Simon on NPR news that the bravest thing for a writer is to face an empty page.

And my page is empty. The life disrupted. 

But the billowing fog over Hillenbrand Pool this morning was truly beautiful even if I couldn’t see through it to the other side.

Put your trust in Him always, O people, pour out your hearts before Him, for God is our refuge.