“We write to taste life twice…” – Anais Nin
I’m here for my second helpings (or elevenses for all you LOTR fans)! Building up to October 11th, I knew it would be a difficult day for me one. I’m not sure if I’m numb or in denial, but I seem to have survived it unscathed. Today, and every October 11th from here forward, will always been a difficult day. I full expected to be a blubbering mess from sun up to sun down, but I often forget that being happy is a choice – not a side effect of good luck and fortune. Even if my every materialistic desire were fulfilled and everything went my way in life, I would still never be completely happy. Happiness is a choice and today I chose to be happy. In moments where my heart aches for just one more minute with my dad I must choose to be happy. So rather than be a basket case all day because this marks one full years since he passed, I chose to be happy. In the book of James we are told all trials and tribulations as joy, “Dear brother and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4). Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t always have this much clarity while facing trials and tribulations, but it’s something that I’m working very had on. I’ve always been a Negative Nancy, a worry wart, or as my husband likes to call me… a Salty Sue. I know that this change in mindset won’t happen over night, but I know that it needs to happen. I need to be strong, uplifting, and encouraging so that I can accomplish all that God has set out for me to do. I was reminded of the importance of this when I got an unexpected email from an old student that had to change schools. He found an email I had sent him regarding a writing contest that I had shared with him last year, and seized the opportunity to reach out to me and let me know how he was doing. What followed was one of the most heartwarming conversations I had every had with a student. He went on to explain that he missed his old school, teachers, and friends. He also explained how thankful he was that I was there to help him through some very challenging tribulations (even though I was completely unaware that he was struggling)! It was that email that reminded me how important it is to be an example to those around me – especially my students. If I could just show them a glimmer of what God’s love and mercy could do to heal someone with a broken heart then that is what I need to do. I will falter. I will get upset. I will have bad days. But I will NOT let those moments take precedence over what I believe.