This morning I decided to scrap the curriculum for my Sunday school class and just kind of freestyle. The last couple of classes had been kind of rough, participation-wise and I wanted to try and figure out if I was doing something wrong, and how I could make the class and the curriculum more applicable to the students and their lives.
Additionally, Friday’s events in Connecticut had me spun out a little as well. I’ve been having a bit of a hard time getting my mind around it, or past it, or through it. I wrote a little bit about that this morning and I also knew I wanted to talk to the kids about how they felt, too. I wanted to see how they were handling it, and if they wanted to talk. The young man who committed the crime was only a few years removed from high school himself, and was closer to their age than mine.
So we talked about being a teenager. We talked about how tough it was, and how tough it could be. We talked about whether or not the church was relevant to the lives of the kids (yes and no), and what we could do to make it different. One of the students shared a considerable amount in the class about her difficulties, and the hour ended up passing pretty quickly.
I don’t know what the result was for them, but I feel like I learned a little bit more about their lives than I’d know before and had some insight into being a teen in the 21st Century.
After my class, I went to the sanctuary to wait for Jen so we could catch the 11am service–I was excited about it because I knew Jeff was going to be preaching and I wanted to be there and see how he was doing. The worship songs got me thinking as worship songs do and by the time Jeff came on to preach I was in the frame of mind where I knew if anything emotional happened I was toast.
The first place Jeff went was to talk about the shooting, and he reminded us to remember the victims, and to focus on them, rather than spending so much time finding out about the perpetrator. He talked a little bit about the heroism of the teachers and staff that morning, and finished with a prayer. By the end of it, I was teary and sat with my head down even after the prayer was finished.
I just wanted to go lie down somewhere. I had my arm across the back of Jen’s chair and I absently stroked her shoulder with the fingers of my left hand. I remember thinking I needed…something from God or I was going to have to get up and leave.
Just then I felt the soft touch of little fingers on my forearm and turned to see a beautiful little girl with Down syndrome that was maybe two. She wore a nice little Sunday dress, and her hair was fixed and very pretty. She didn’t say anything, but just stood there for a second and smiled the most beautiful smile I’d ever seen.
“Hi, sweetheart,” I said, just as her father hustled her back to their seats.
He said she noticed my arms were as hairy as his. That was certainly true, but I think it was a lot more than that, at least for me.
I told him that afterward, and I’m not sure whether he got it or not, because he looked at me kind of funny. Regardless, it made me very aware that God will speak to us when we ask him to, sometimes in ways we don’t expect.
I felt his touch in that little girl’s fingertips when I needed it badly.
What a morning…