May 11, 2016
My job as a preschool director at my church involves, well, directing a lot of different things - I can’t begin to list them all. But, one event is our monthly chapel service where each preschool class performs a song and we celebrate birthdays. It’s a sweet, simple half-hour time of worship.
In my early days, chapels brought on high anxiety. I had to stand up in church in front of a bunch of families and deliver a welcome, Bible verse, prayer, and at the end, announcements. Public speaking isn’t my jam. I get tied up in nervous knots. So, this thing that I typically avoid at all costs ended up being a central facet of my work. Real funny, God.
And, over time, it got to be okay. High anxiety eventually gave way to medium or even low anxiety.
The more you do something, the easier it gets.
But, here I was, at my last chapel service. This was the same week that Joe was gone, that Abby’s stomach was twisted into a ball, and I was dealing with snakes in the birdhouse. The entire week felt like the early days - high anxiety.
And this last chapel was special. I was announcing my resignation.
I made my announcement - short and quick. I received a warm round of applause. People even stood up. I got teary.
In the front row, directly in front of me, sat a little boy who had had some struggles - making connections proved challenging for him.
While I was standing there, telling the world that I was moving, he came over and hugged my leg. I leaned down and he hugged me. Me?
“I moved once,” he said.
“Yes, from a brown house to a blue house.”
“Do you like your new house?”
He smiled. “Yes.”
Seven years of working the desk, being the lady at the front - not one of the cool teachers getting dirty in the sandbox, mind you - and at my last chapel… somehow… I made this beautiful connection with the kid who doesn’t connect.
Two days later, when I saw him again, he took my hands - both of them - and held them while we talked about Star Wars.
There’s God in it. God’s in the hard things. God’ll give you peace, like a river. He’ll take something routine, something anxious, and turn it into one of the sweetest moments. My Last Chapel had been something I just wanted to get through, get over with. God didn’t let me get off that easy. He turned my Last Chapel into a gift. A beautiful, memorable Mystery.
“I will extend peace to her like a river.”
Isaiah 66:12 NIV