“Hey look, it’s our sub!” One student shouted back to the class from the open door. She held the door open for me.
It was surprisingly comforting to find the class in complete pandemonium. It took me a second to confirm that there wasn’t a teacher in sight to hand over the baton. I was on.
Which personality would the day require? Strict disciplinarian — or witty intellectual — or compassionate adult role model? Or all of the above, perhaps?
Continue reading “Taking attendance”
——Yesterday would have been Dorothy Speigle’s 97th birthday. She passed away in January of this year. In her memory, I’m posting the eulogy I shared at her funeral.——
I’m the youngest of her three granddaughters. We all adored her.
I called her Momaw, but she’s been known by many names in her long life. Dorothy. Sister. Aunt. Dot. Dorosha. Mama. Hobie. Grandma. Great Grandma. In the last few weeks, hospice nurses have been coming in and out of her house. My mom told me that one of them commented that there was so much love in Momaw’s house.
Continue reading “Remembering Momaw”
Maggie was drawn to me. I couldn’t understand it. Her mom asked her if she remembered me. She searched my face.
“No,” she said, and went about the business of being six years old.
She was born just a few days after my wedding, but we didn’t meet until a few years later. We had a tea party, and she taught me how to hold my pinky the right way. At that time, it was too painful for me to pursue attachments to children. Even the ones in my family. Continue reading “A princess with a great longing”
When I met a good friend for breakfast, we shared chai in steel cups. In India, you have to pour it in little bowls to make it cool enough to drink. Then, it gets cold. It’s one, or the other. Piping hot or nearly-refrigerator cold. I prefer a burned tongue.
I should be comfortable with cold tea. I am from the Deep South. My parents don’t know what happened to me. I think I’m the first person ever in the history of my family who doesn’t like sweet, iced tea.
I actually didn’t like even hot tea until I moved to India.
Continue reading “I love Chai”
“So, you must like Indian food a lot? Why don’t we get Indian food for lunch?”
It’s question I’ve learned to dread.
It’s sort of a fair question since we lived there for two years. But usually what people don’t realize is that in India, Indian food is the main cuisine for every meal. In the States, we feel bored if we eat the same type of food three days in a row.
Continue reading “The food is not my favorite part of India”
Before this weekend, I could confine memories of camping to the next six sentences, plus four sentence fragments: One small, blurry reflection of a weekend in college that involved white water rafting. The Ocoee River. I’m sure I was the weakest link. I’m not even sure how I ended up agreeing to go.
Another memory is with my parents, too many years ago to count. It’s a pleasant enough memory, but the details are fuzzy. I’m sure there was a tent … And, some vienna sausages … I should ask my dad. He would remember.
Despite these faint memories, I remember equating life in India to camping on more than one occasion. You know, no dishwasher. No air conditioner. Mosquitos. Humidity hair. Same, same.
Continue reading “Being outside”
The rocks were covered with green moss.
Above and below.
The water broke in white puffs.
Forward and back.
I opened my eyes.
They blinked in submission to the sun.
But I didn’t care.
It began that day.
Continue reading “Forward and Back”
It had been eight years since I left teaching high school for the greener pastures of marriage and a slightly nomadic, freelance life. Eight years is a long time.
When I had the substitute teacher interview, the principal said, “We don’t use a lot of subs.” So, I had sort of written it off as an option for supplementing my income. Chalked it up to interview experience and making a personal connection.
A few days later, I got a call to substitute for sixth grade. Honestly, I didn’t know if sixth grade would be middle school or elementary. Twenty-three years ago in Alabama, it was elementary. Turns out, it is middle school somewhere in between now.
I was so ready for the adventure I forgot to ask what subject it would be. I won’t make that mistake again.
Continue reading “My first day as a substitute teacher”
About 10 women sat in a circle poised to pray. Needy women. With broken families. Broken bodies. Broken marriages. Longings. Pain. Women like me.
One by one, each woman sat in a chair and shared what hurt her heart. Open. Willing to receive. From her sisters. From her God.
I braced myself for the onslaught of needs. I knew I couldn’t meet them. That lesson was deeply entrenched because of God’s work in my heart. I knew I couldn’t meet them, but I was still prepared for them to be overwhelming. Continue reading “A new way to pray”
Everywhere I turned, I saw a prayer request. A need.
When we were in India, part of my work was crafting honest requests on behalf of my family in a creative way. These requests were sent to people who supported us, for the purpose of making our needs known so that our team could come around us in prayer.
Another part of my work was sorting newsletters from families living all over South Asia to develop story ideas. Sometimes it would be 80 newsletters per month, two to three pages each. And, that’s just the people I didn’t know. There would be another 20 or so from people I knew personally.
At first, I felt like I should pray through each newsletter I received. Then, I allowed myself to focus on the people I knew personally. I felt like I should care about each family, each person. Anything less seemed insincere. But, I couldn’t do it.
It took me a long time to realize that God never intended to use me to meet everyone’s needs. Not even all of the needs of all of the people I am blessed to know. Continue reading “When God is silent”