The Joy Of Teaching

Seventh period. Oh, the joy.
I ran my fingers through my straight, light, sandy brown hair, then looked at my class, which at the moment, was in the middle of a paper ball war that apparently was much more important than passing the eighth grade. I didn’t like to yell, but I knew I had to. As I opened my mouth, about to chasten the class, something small and sharp flew into my mouth. “ACK! ACK!” I coughed up the item into my hand as the class was hysterically laughing. “A tiny little paper ball.”, I mumbled. Wonderful. I could figure out who threw it just by examining the front row and seeing who had the smug little smirk on their face, being “Whoop whoop!”ed and “You go boy!”ed, as if he had actually accomplished something other than make me want to rip the smirk off his face. Being a Christian, however, that was not the Christ-like thing to do. I simply restrained myself to screaming at him and then sending him to the office with a nice little referral in his hand.
Sometimes I wonder what makes these kids not care about their future, what makes this kids act like ignoramuses. Why they don’t just calm down, pull up their pants, and learn some math. As of now, the highest grade in this class was a 42. It makes me really nervous, with the fact that these ‘wonderful children’ could get me fired.
But even if I do get fired, I’ll still love these little kids. As Christians, Jesus called us to love our neighbors. And as much as I would love to sometimes, I can’t just say, “They don’t live next door to me.”, and proceed to throw a desk at them. That’s not the right thing to do. It isn’t what Jesus would do if he for whatever odd reason was teaching math to a bunch of rowdy teenagers.
Oh, and as I was going through this great philosophical spiel, the paper war only got worse. Kids were running across the room, singing whatever obscene song they heard on the radio with a youthful glee. (It makes me wish I could make them sit down and listen to some Pillar, some Lecrae, some Kutless, some Flyleaf, the good stuff, you know?) Not wanting to subject my ears nor anyone else’s to this rubbish, I (attempted) to silence the class. Apparently I wasn’t speaking in English because they only got louder.
“This was it.”, I thought. No way could I get out without strangling somebody without God’s help. Unafraid of insults, teasing, and exhausted from dealing with this on my own, I dropped to my knees and prayed.
“Father God, I thank you for this day. I thank you for my job, and I thank you for my salvation. I confess that I’ve had some pretty violent thoughts toward these children, and I confess that I sin in that. I ask forgiveness and I ask that you may help me to repent and change my ways. I pray that I may seek Your Kingdom and Your Will, not mine, and somehow influence these young people to come to You. I confess that there is no way I can love these neighbors on my own. I need Your help. So please deliver me from the temptation to strangle or otherwise harm these kids, and help me to love them as myself. I praise You for your holiness and Your mercy, and I pray that I may serve you better tomorrow. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
As any Christian would tell you, and as I have learned in my five years with God, He will provide. I was ‘saved by the bell’, only not by the bell, but by Divine Providence. As it rang, the kids scurried out of the room, almost running one another over. Seriously, it’s amazing how much energy these kids have after being pent up in some stuffy, cold classroom for 55 minutes.
To glorify God for what He has done, I went over to my bag, dug around for my Bible, and placed it on my desk. There is no coincidence in the first page I opened it to and the first verse I noticed:
For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. (Psalm 37:28 KJV)
I went back to the beginning of Psalm 37 and read, eating up what the Lord had to say to me this afternoon. After reading, I looked up to the ceiling, and felt the Holy Spirit strengthening me. I whispered, “I love you, Heavenly Father…” as if I was standing next to God and He had His ear near my lips, as if I was going to tell Him a secret. Feeling satisfied, I knew He loves me, a poor, hot-headed, blue-eyed, short, and sarcastic math teacher, even more than I could ever love Him. He loves me so much He gave His only Son to die in my place and rise. And that’s why I love Him in the first place.

Hero—A short story

The first thing I saw when I woke up was light. Bright, luminous light. Way too much light. As my eyes adjusted, I noticed that the room was all white. On the wall in front of me was a tv, and to my left and right were various kinds of medical equipment. There was a light grey curtain separating my bed from that of the other patient.
I looked down at myself. As I tried to recollect my memories, figure out how I got here, I noticed a huge bandage on my chest… and I was shirtless. This would be okay if not for the fact that I looked up and sighted my girlfriend, Josie, my mother, my little brother and sister, and a chubby, black haired, bored looking nurse walk into the room.
I stared into my mother’s eyes, those of my brothers, and then stared right into Josie’s eyes with a stare that must have been pitiful, for Josie at once rushed over to attempt to hug me, even though I was laying down, had a really bad wound (ouch, that made her hug hurt…), and the nurse was telling her in a monotonic, lethargic, almost robotic voice not to touch me around my chest.
“Are you okay…”, she breathed, her voice breaking, as if she was about to cry (but with your boyfriend in the hospital with an… umm… is this wound even fatal? I don’t know, that’s not what I’m talking about right now… who wouldn’t?
“Fine.” I got that out, then there was silence. There was weeping, tears falling on my chest, my family and Josie surrounding me, but no words… until my brother spoke.
“You’re a hero for what you did.”
My mother sighed. Josie wiped her tears with her hand. The nurse yawned. I suddenly remembered all that had happened, what led me to this overlit hospital… The little girl… The gunman… Me jumping out in front, knocking her out of the way… The agonizing pain of the bullet entering my chest…” My memories became clearer than reality for a second there.
But me? A hero? As what my little brother said lingered, I denied myself as a hero. “I wasn’t a hero… I was simply striving to do what Jesus would do.”
But there’s something that makes me sickened, and befuddled, yet dangerously curious. What would that man want? What heartless man would shoot a little girl? Was it a family feud? Revenge on an ex-girlfriend or ex-wife? Just some sick-brained scum trying to have his sick fun…? As I thought, Josie was stroking my short, curly blonde hair. I looked down at my hairy, bandaged chest, and looked up at the bright white ceiling, and fell suddenly fell tired. I gripped Josie’s smooth, tanned hand gently, whispered an “I love you.”, then fell asleep.