Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Single Red Rose

    There's a guy that I "liked" on Facebook known as "Teacher Tipster."  His posts are always  funny and sometimes kind of crazy -- but helpful ideas for my kindergarten class.  But recently he has written on a more serious note, letting his readers know that his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  But in this message it seems like he had a "Godwink" -- a blessing  to help him know that God would walk through this with them.  

Here's what he wrote today:
   "Three days earlier we had received what seemed like the worst news imaginable. Suzy had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. We were scared. In shock. Worried. Confused. At this point, we knew nothing and it was tough to find anything positive about this situation. It was not a good weekend!

But, like always...time marches on. And before we knew it we were both back to work on Monday morning as usual. We hadn’t told anyone other than family at this point. So, when I showed up at school on Monday I knew that I’d have to share what was happening with my principal. I’d need to arrange to have some time off to help Suzy with her hospital appointments. I also wanted to tell my BTFF (Best Teacher Friend Forever) Ms. Murtha what was going on. We’ve taught together for our entire careers and we always keep each other in the loop about big stuff like this.

It was about 7:15 that morning. Murtha dropped by my classroom to say “hey” as usual. I shared the bad news with her pretty quickly. I told her all that we had found out and what our plans were going to be for the next week or so. I realize now that I probably hadn’t dealt with my emotions over the weekend. Like I said...I was in shock! Plus, I had been trying to keep the “strong” face on for Suzy. So, as I was sharing the news I finally lost it. The fear, worry, shock and stress had finally caught up to me. I began to weep. I don’t cry often...but when I do it’s ugly! Just ask Murtha. Hahah! I couldn’t talk and my face was all red, wet and shiny. I just needed to let it all out I suppose.

It took me a minute or two to finally gain my composure. And I had just wiped away the last remaining tears when one of my students showed up at the classroom door. Now, it was only about 7:30 a.m. Our students aren’t even dismissed to the rooms until about 8:00 everyday. So, she was WAY too early to be coming down the hallway to the classroom.

And this was not just any student. It was one of those students that you really had to watch. Don’t get me wrong...I LOVED this kiddo! I could tell you a hundred stories about her that would have you rolling with laughter. One involving “toots that smell like waffles”. Her hard work and academic gains this year were more impressive than almost any other student in my class. But, she did have a mischievous side. She really knew how to push the boundaries. And she could truly test my patience at times. So, when she showed up thirty minutes before class was supposed to start I just knew that she was up to no good!

I was just about to “shoo” her out of the room when I noticed something in her hand. And as she shuffled towards me I could see that it was a single red rose. Now, one more note about this kiddo. It wasn’t often that she brought me gifts. In fact...it had never happened before. No birthday gift. No Christmas gift. No Valentine’s Day gift. No Teacher Appreciation Week gift. She came from a large family and spending that kind of money just wasn’t an option. And of course that’s fine with me! I tell my kiddos that the best gift of all is their hard work and caring behavior. But today...she did have a gift. A rose. In my eyes the universal symbol for love.

My spirits were instantly lifted! I said to her...”What! Oh my goodness girl! You have no idea how much I needed that today!” And I did need it! After the weekend that we had just endured I needed something that just felt good and sweet. I told her “Thank you” and she told me “Your Welcome” and she began to walk out of the class. But, after taking just a few steps, the child stopped and turned back to me. She looked me right in the eyes and said...”Actually...it’s for your wife!” Then, just as fast as she had come in she trotted right back out of the room and was gone.

I couldn’t believe my ears! First, how did she know that I needed such encouragement on this day? And how could she possibly know that Suzy needed it even more than me? And of all the days during the school year why had she chosen this random Monday morning to bring me a gift? Because let me remind you that we hadn’t told ANYBODY about what we were facing. Only our family, the doctors and God knew what was happening! My students knew nothing about the storm we were facing. As a matter of fact, this class had never even gotten to meet Mrs. Suzy in person! Amazing!

It felt to me like Jesus was saying “I love you”. Like He was reminding me that He cares for us. He knew that we were hurting and He used the most unlikely of people to let us know that He had not abandoned us. He wanted to make it clear that He would be with us every step of the way. He sent us that rose to say that He loves us!

Murtha and I just looked at each other with wide eyes! She was just as shocked as I was! And all I could say in that moment was “Thank you God!” It meant so much to me! And it felt so personal. I’ll never forget it. And it may never happen again, but I know that this was more than just a coincidence!

I can’t tell you how much I needed that rose...and the message that it ultimately stood for. God knew that I needed it. And from this day on I’ll always remember that. No matter what’s happening in our lives. The good, the bad or anything in between. He is with us! And He loves us."

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in times of trouble.
Psalm 46:1

I have loved you with an everlasting love...
Jeremiah 31:3