Maybe the reason God arranged it so that I would be “randomly” selected to chaperone the dance was because He knew my response. If my internal dialogue could have been heard by my fellow chaperones, I’m certain I would have been given all kinds of weird looks. As I was being filled in on the less-than-admirable extra-curricular activities of the students, I was praying for them. I was looking out at the dance floor, vaguely picking up on the words of music I don’t listen to, and praying that the Blood of Jesus would cover them.
I watched them. And I wished I could force-feed them some of my experiences, some of my certain knowledge. They are fervently racing after fulfillment, happiness, and satisfaction. Yet they are running in the wrong directions. I almost felt like I was in a burning building with them as they ran around, looking for the exit. Meanwhile, I am standing near the exit, holding an emergency manual, but they are convinced that there must be some other way. It made my heart ache for them in a new way.
Taking in the scene make me grateful, though. In a fairly affluent school, I could see a definite materialism within them. Success seems to be clearly defined as making money or making a name for yourself. And I was grateful that I was not raised with such expectations. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since third grade and my parents supported me: proof that making money wasn’t a part of their philosophy of success. I don’t blame the students for seeking money and success if they are what are taught as the most important things in life. But I know that isn’t where true fulfillment is found. I know I have great freedom because I don’t place tons of value in money, expensive things, or positions of authority and power.
Despite the times they make me want to pull my hair out or roll my eyes or end the day early, I have an affection for my students that is abiding. A student who is struggling stopped by my classroom and although we aren’t particularly close, my heart was moved by them. I smiled at the student and briefly reviewed the recent class work. But when the student had walked out of my room, I realized the great look of vulnerability in their eyes. Even though I was talking about videos and projects, I wanted to convey a sincerity and kindness toward them. The only other thing I wanted to say but didn’t think of until later was simply, “It is good to see you.” I’m glad you exist.
Because I am. Frustrations and disappointments aside, I am glad my students exist. I am glad I have them in my room and that I get to spend time with them. And, because they are what they are and I am what I am, I will continue to pray for them, even if my prayers would cause people to look at me askance if they heard them.
Precious Blood of Jesus, pour over my students. Sanctify, purify, and save them.