O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. Psalm 139:1-2, 7-10 (NRSV)
This past August 17th was my forty fourth first day of school. The first thirteen were as a K-12 student, then five first days of college and now twenty six as an elementary teacher. My entire life has revolved around a school calendar since I was five, so it’s the only schedule I know. As the beginning of each first day would near, my thoughts would vary depending on the situation. My first day of kindergarten, or junior high or senior year of high school all brought a myriad of feelings. What about you? The same for each first day of college where I went from knowing absolutely no other student on campus at Midland, to flipping that narrative as the years progressed. These last twenty six first days of teaching have been all over the map as well. School, position, responsibility, administrator, marriage, child and health additions and changes all factor into the differences in mindset, preparation, excitement and comfort. The beauty of every single one of these first days of school is that I have always been blessed to have been greeted by a smiling face to start every single one of those days. There has always been someone to ask me about my day, my summer, my family or some positive interaction with someone who was taking tangible stock in me. From little Bobby Floth, to Bob Floth, all the way to Mr. Floth, a smiling face has greeted and checked in on me.
At the core of feeling cared about is our faith and belief in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Today’s verses from Psalm 139 should remind all of us that our God is there to walk with us through every stage of our lives. We are not invisible. We are seen, loved and led by and to the hand of God. I try to remember that everyone of my students and fellow teachers also enter their first day with a plethora of thoughts and emotions, so I choose to be the smiling face and listening ear to as many of those people as possible. I realize that many of my students and possibly some staff haven’t been raised in the church and might lack an understanding and belief in our Lord. Even though I can’t speak of that belief in my classroom, I can sure try to model the listening and love of others that our God wants from us each day. No matter your job, consider today your first day. Who needs your words, smile or ear? Do you need the same? If so, come! Invite others to come. Our church communities are here for you. Attend your church regularly and if you don’t have one, come try Southwood, where All are welcome, seen and loved. Amen
Questions for Reflection:
- Do you have someone who will check in on you?
- Have you checked in on someone who needs you today?
Thank you for allowing us to be seen. You walk with us every step of the way, sending people to impact our lives when we need it most. When we have trouble seeing it, remind us to pause and allow you to guide us along the way. For in you, we are saved. Amen