You know when…
You know when you´re feeling really overwhelmed with something and on the verge of crying but trying your best to hold it in and then someone asks “are you okay?” or “do you need a hug?” and then you release full on Niagra Falls levels of tears….? Well, over the past four weeks (yes – I´ve officially been here four weeks since yesterday, crazy!!) I´ve had my fair share of moments like that. I do something embarrassing just about every day (I considered doing a whole blog post on embarrassing moments but I´m whimping out, sorry haha) and some days are just so long and confusing that I come home and try not to cry but end up crying anyway when my host family asks the very simple question of “Como fue su día?” or “How was your day?”
The crazy thing is that even on those days where I end up crying because things are hard or confusing, God has this way or bringing peace to the situation. This post is going to be about two moments that happened last week that will seem so small, but meant so much.
So that happened… #1
I have this English class that I teach after school 3x a week and let’s just say, it´s not always the easiest. The kids are actually very polite and fun, but because of the reality of the school environment, schedules are always changing and the number of kids in my class has dropped dramatically. I walked into class last week and there was literally no one in the room… I was so sad because how am I supposed to teach a class to no one?? I waited 5 mins, 10 mins, 15 mins, and finally 3 kids showed up. I decided to just start the class with 3 kids. I planned my lesson for at least 10 kids, but 3 it was.
I was about to write something on the board when one girl asked what the meaning of “Shape of You” was. Now, if that title isn´t ringing any bells – it´s the name of a popular Ed Sheeran song. I laughed because how on earth was I going to describe to a 12 year old what that meant (because in reality, it´s about how the singer is in love with the shape of a woman´s body). I decided to just try and translate the words literally first. Of course I forgot how to say “shape” in Spanish so I proceeded to draw shapes on the board. Then, I drew a woman on the board and tried to explain how it was a metaphor for how much he loves this woman and the shape of her body (why oh whyyy I actually tried to explain this to 12 year olds, I´m not sure). In my attempt to explain this all as quickly as I could, I managed to draw the world´s WORST drawing of a woman, EVER. (check out the picture I´ll put at the bottom of the post for proof) I basically drew a blob with hair. Well, the kids thought it was the funniest thing in the world and one kid even said “it looks like her hands are knives” and granted, it really did… I couldn´t help it, but I burst out laughing with them. I couldn´t believe how silly my picture was. We spent the next 3 or 4 mins laughing so much at how much I clearly couldn´t draw that I think the kids forgot all about the fact that I just explained a slightly inappropriate song title to them and that there were only 3 of us in there.
All my stress and sadness about how small the class was, diminshed. At this point, 3 more students had joined the class too. We then continued the class and I taught them all about different activities (walking, swimming, running, etc.) and I acted each one out to them in an attempt to get them engaged and interested. It worked really well and they loved it! They loved it even more though when we got to one word in particular… I hadn´t thought properply about writing “dance” on the board until we got to it. Suddenly, I was playing a random song off my Spotify and “dancing” infront of all the students. If you know me at all, I can´t dance to save my life. But, thank goodness I could laugh at myself because I think it made the students’ day -the crazy “gringa” dancing infront of them. One girl even ran up to the front and asked if she could dance with me, so I took her hands and danced with her for a bit until I told her we had to continue with the lesson.
You see the thing is, I was so worried about that class that day. I usually have at least 10, sometimes up to 17 kids in my class. But none of that mattered because I ended up breaking the ice and reaching a new level with the kids that were there, and all through my terrible artistic skills and embarrassing dance moves. So, moral of the story – if you can´t dance, it might actually come in handy one day 🙂
So that happened… #2
This next moment is a little sweeter. And shorter. I came home one day last week and cried to my host family because the schedule at the school keeps changing here and I spent a few too many hours waiting around that day and it had just got to me (and made for a kind of long and boring day, to be completely honest). My host mom and grandma were quick to give me hugs (and even chocolate) and comfort me until I calmed down.
Now fast forward a few more hours… I was calmer at this point, but still feeling a bit down about the day, so I tried to describe some of the things I’m doing in school to my host family to try and start conversation. I explained how I’ve been teaching the kids a song in English and Spanish about God’s love. I asked if they knew the song, “Cristo me ama” or “Jesus Loves Me” and before I knew it, my grandma pulled out her old hymn book and found the song in Spanish. We ended up singing every single verse together (turns out there’s more than just one verse to Jesus Loves Me) and one song led to the next and soon enough we were singing hymn after hymn, for hours. Some of them I recognized the tune, others were brand new to me, but I sight read anyway. It was so special. Just three woman standing around an old hymnal singing and praising the Lord together. I didn´t always know what I was singing and we all weren´t always in tune, but it didn´t matter. It didn´t matter that I don´t know perfect Spanish and they don´t know more than maybe 5 words in English. We were just three people who love the Lord singing together.
(The featured image for this article is of the old hymnal!)
So what am I saying?
I don´t always have silly or special moments like that every day. Some days really are just long and hard. But, the truth is our Lord knows us and knows what we need. He knows what will make us laugh and lift our spirits and he knows how to use gifts and talents that have, or don´t have for that matter, to connect with His people. Allow yourself to be strong enough to be weak enough to let God handle it. Because, He knows what he´s doing – especially when we don´t.