Gone Too Soon

December 21, 2012 at 9:30 AM Leave a comment

CHILD

Like a shooting star

Flyin’ across the room

So fast so far

You were gone too soon

You’re part of me

And I’ll never be

The same here without you

You were gone too soon

 

Shine on! Shine on!

You were gone too soon

Shine on! Shine on!

You were gone too soon

Shine on! Shine on!

You were gone too soon

 

~From Gone Too Soon by Simple Plan

*The Bible tells us that “love is of God,” and even goes on to tell us that “God is love.”

Because I believe the Bible, I’ll acquiesce to those descriptors and definitions of love and do my best to lay my personal thoughts aside.

You see, based on my personal thoughts, there are times when I think love is a beastly thing, and best to be avoided, because on a good day, love, though sweet, is yet wrapped up in risk. On a bad, bad, bad day, love hurts. Love, particularly when it is wrenched away from you by force, can cripple you; bring you to your knees; devastate you – and even break you.

Friday, December 14, 2012 is indelibly stamped in our collective memory as one of those bad, bad, bad days. Since Thanksgiving I’ve been working as a contract 4th grade teacher at a rural elementary school. The ages of 4th graders generally range from 9-10; occasionally a kid will turn 11 during the school year, depending on the age the child started school.

Teaching 4th graders is an extreme stretch for me. I currently teach continuing education classes at the University of Louisiana, and I’m a certified executive trainer. I’ve served as a Dean of Women’s Education for a faith-based organization and taught non-traditional adult learners in a variety of subjects. I’m now interviewing participants for the research portion of my doctoral dissertation working on a PhD in higher education administration. Needless to say, working with 4th graders is a huge s-t-r-e-t-c-h.

When driving home, I thought, “Good Lord! One more week – this assignment can’t end soon enough!”

Needless to say, I was shocked and dismayed when I made it to my parents’ house. My school is in a rural area and internet access is limited (never mind the fact that there’s no way you even think about getting on the internet when you’re trying to manage 21 kids).

My Dad was in his usual spot in front of the television. I remember wondering why my Dad’s expression was so pained when he turned to look at me; he’s usual very jovial and ready to hear about my adventures with the students.

My Dad tersely told me what happened in Newtown, Connecticut; I dropped into a chair. I stared mutely at the screen as CNN replayed President Obama’s initial words.

And then I lost it.

I thought about the 21 students I’ve come to know. As much as they get on my last nerves at times, I know that I love them. I may or may not see any of them again after December 21, yet I know that I care about their future; I’m concerned about what will happen to them. Who will they grow up to be? What will their lives be like?

And now, for a reason that only God truly knows, in addition to six adults and himself, a gunman had ruthlessly murdered 20 children who were even younger than the ones in my class.

Do I have some psychological theory to offer, or some religious babble? No, I don’t. The same love that carried with it so much joy is the same love that now brings grief and pain. Along with the rest of the country, my heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to all the families touched by this tragedy.

This week, as I returned to my 4th graders for  my final week, I took pains to be a bit more patient, and gentle. I was more generous with comments of “Great job!” and “There you go!” and “You’re a Rock Star!”

And when I leave today, one week after the tragedy, I’ll be sure to ruffle their hair, pull their pig tails, and hug them very, very, tightly; each and every one.

 Join in the fray: Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings regarding this tragedy. If there’s a small child who you love and appreciate, tell me about him/her.

Copyright © 2012 Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, All rights reserved.

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Late Night Testing . . . One . . . Two . . . Three. . . . . Hey Y’all (in my Paula Deen voice) – I’ve Moved!

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