Today I was reading Romans 5:3-5 in the NASB: "... we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulations brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
Following? Tribulations bring perseverance, which brings proven character, which brings hope. And hope doesn't disappoint, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts.
I've done a lot of reflecting on this process as I've worked at fixing up my soon-to-be second grade classroom. Remembering where I was this time last year: only weeks from having lost D, but starting a new school year. Our Crazy Librarian stopped by my room this week and commented on how I was there in body at the beginning of last school year, but my mind and my heart were someplace very far off. And here I thought I was fooling everyone. Functioning well during the day, but coming home to sit and stare into space for many, many long hours. Glad no one was looking in my home's windows and preparing a case to have me legally certified as many bricks short of a load.
But in the back of my mind? There was always that small glimmer of hope. That hope that "doesn't disappoint" that things were going to get better. Even though I could never imagine that the cloud of grief in my heart would ever be gone. I sat through two sessions of my GriefShare class: numb the first time; thawing to reality the second. And gradually, so gradually, realizing that this trial was bringing perseverance and proven character that eventually sprouted hope. A hope of healing that became a reality.
I love being a teacher because we have our own calendar that is renewed each August. We basically get to start all over again each new school year. I can see the full circle of a year without D. A year spent going through every drawer, closet, nook and cranny throughout the entire house as if I was doing an archeological dig of D's life. And now I'm done.
Another full circle experience? The GriefShare leader called me yesterday and asked me to be a leader beginning in September. Well? Yes, please! If I can hold out the smallest grain of hope to anyone going through this experience, I will be glad to do the training necessary and give the time to the class.
And I close this post with the Message's version of our verse about hope:
"We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary-we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit."
Amen and amen.