My Miriam. Young--could be the youngest in her class, as her birthday falls one tiny day before the state cutoff. Bold. Daring. Excited. Ready. She has been quite the trailblazer thus far, but let's face it--every kid in that class is the same thing: new. They are all embracing this fresh thing called school with the same naivety, the same enthusiasm, the same wide-eyed wonder. Their teacher is expectant of first-day jitters, embarrassing accidents, even the occasional teary-eyed trooper who just can't seem to fit in.
Then there's my Abigail. My first love, maternally speaking. Abigail will forever hold that place--where my very first motherly instincts rose up from deep within the confines of my selfish heart, broadening its horizons to include other little souls who's lives would fully be dependent upon my actions. She forever will be the one who engaged my heart in one of humankind's greatest journeys: motherhood. This is why today--our second day of school--was worse than yesterday.
You see, Abigail is entering a new school, too. The difference here is that most every other fourth grader has been at this school now for three or four years. Here is what they know: Each other. Teachers. Rules. Building layout. Pretty much everything that matters, they know. And if they don't, they know just how to fake it. Her teacher is wonderful. I can already see this, and for that I am thankful. However, I understand that he probably hasn't dealt with the "new" factor much in his career, like the Kindergarten teachers who face a different batch of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed newbies each year.
Today was the day she felt the nerves rising up inside that slender stomach of hers. She felt sick. Literally. Identifying the problem doesn't make it go away. I knew that it wouldn't, but I had to reassure her that everything would be fine. Second-day jitters, I fear, are worse than their more well-known counterpart: the first-day jitters. With the first day, there is a delightful aspect we keep right on the horizon. We know that the first day is just that. A day. There is a beginning, and a few hours later, an ending. With day two, there is not such hope. Day two is simply a day, and will most assuredly be followed by another, and another, and so on. There is no real short-term end in sight and therefore can be gravely foreboding to any novice.
So today's pondering is a hard truth that we all must deal with at some time or another. In life, sometimes we are forced into situations where we feel completely alone and afraid. Sometimes the excitement wears off and we are left with a bundle of frenzied nerves where our stomachs once were. And if there is one piece of advice or wisdom I may lay at the feet of the trembling, it is this:
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Be at peace friends. Tomorrow is another day to wake up and face it all again. I pray that through all the sufferings, our character is built up and full of love and moxie. And the main vehicle that takes us there, my friends, is perseverance.