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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Baker

Modern Art Project

To say this semester has been difficult would be an understatement.  There are more students, more IEPs (individualized education plans), and more paperwork than ever.  If I had a dollar for every eye roll or cuss word that was spoken to me this semester, I could retire and live a comfortable life.  But I don't.  Instead, I have a bunch of students who I have to remind myself to love every day.  Most days, I fake it until I make it.  And a teaching friend who goes out to sit on the dock and drinks a fruity drink with me each Friday.

One student in particular has been a challenge.  The first week of school, I had to send her out for yelling and cussing in class.  When she came back, I sat with her in the hall and told her I cared and that I wanted her to succeed.  She said she would try better.  It was an uphill battle.  Days where she wouldn't listen to a word I said or everything illicited an eye roll and an under the breath comment.  Days of tears over her boyfriend.  And days of just straight up yelling.  She called me names that I won't repeat, and every day that she showed up, I winced as I forced myself to speak calmly to her and to show her compassion even though I didn't feel it.  I'd see her in the halls and try to strike up conversation, and she would ignore me.  I came to a point where I had finally given up.  There are just some kids that you can't reach.

Five minutes before the last bell to signal Christmas break, she handed me a present wrapped in notebook paper.  It was her modern art project that described who she was as a person.  The wrapping described what the project meant and why she chose specific colors.  Words such as "hurt, insanity, pain, guilty, and hopeful" scribbled on one side. She wanted me to have it.  Me.  The teacher who she couldn't stand.  Who made her do her work and try even though she claimed she had no plan to graduate.

And I'm reminded how God waits on me.  How I curse him and rebel and he keeps loving me.  Keeps longing for me. Keeps fighting for me.  I'm reminded that this season is a season of waiting.  That gifts like this are only meaningful after you've overcome.  Gifts like this only matter to the person who has persevered. Who has given all that they have to offer and when they're ready to give up, hope shines through.  And I'm thankful God sent me this glimmer of hope.  I'm thankful His son died for this somewhat ugly world.  I'm thankful for the waiting.

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