It was either annoying or endearing.
The student said “hi” at the end of class, as he looked over my podium to casually glance at my computer screen. Then, he went to a stack of books, picked them up and looked at them, despite the fact that it seemed like they were not in a place where students should peruse. It was either annoying because he clearly didn’t know boundaries, didn’t respect my space as a teacher, and appeared to not know what should be private.
Or it was endearing because his attitude indicated the great comfort he felt in my classroom. Something about the way he was performing these actions seemed innocent and naive. Like a child who glances at a parent’s phone with interest rather than intrigue. Or a teen who roots through the cupboard looking for food to consume.
“You seem at home,” I said after he placed the books back on the stack.
“Yeah, I feel pretty comfortable,” he replied, most likely oblivious to what his actions could have meant.
And I chose to read his actions as a compliment instead of him brashly stepping over lines I’d drawn. That split-second choice, to read his actions in a positive light instead of an infuriating way, gave that afternoon moment life instead of frustration.
He feels at home.
In the midst of a week that feels long and a month that I find myself stressfully wishing away, I was thankful to find a moment that gladdened my heart with simple joy. Sometimes, they make weird noises. Sometimes, I say things I never thought I’d say to teenagers. Sometimes, they make me want to pull my hair out. But, today, I was grateful that at least one person feels like my classroom is a safe, comfortable place for them.
Today, I found Christ and gave Him a home. But, I almost didn’t.
Lord, widen my heart during this time of Advent. There is always room for You. Make more room so that I might welcome others who reflect You. May I seek and find You in the most unlikely of places and in the most inopportune times. May unexpected grace move my heart from annoyance to affection every time.