I love to read my Bible and pray and sip my tea with the sliding door open on sunny, warm mornings. It fills me with peace and sets the pace for the day. And usually it lasts at least until I get to school. Sometimes, no matter what I do, as soon as I get to work a frenzy begins. Right now it’s like that because Seniors only have a few days of school left, but many have several missing assignments. Or they have tests to make up. Or they are failing a class and need a last desperate push to cross the threshold from “E” to “D”. Or they are cramming for finals because a good grade on that final exam is a must.
I try not to let other people’s stress and negativity affect and drag me down, but sometimes it’s difficult. I was feeling so relaxed and cheerful the other day when I arrived at work. My status on Facebook said something like, “Suck every moment of joy out of this day!” What I meant by that was - look for the joy in everything and relish it as much as you can! And as I drove to work I found great joy in the sunshine, the birds, the trees, the flowers, all of it - because that was what I had put my mind and attitude to. Then I got to school and within the first hour of the day students were angrily telling me how much they hate math. On one level, I do understand that, but in reality, it doesn’t matter how much they hate it, they still have to do it. Math is a necessary evil and my job is to try to make it easier for them as much as I can. It is the end of the year and we have been through it all before and I realized I am tired of arguing with them to get them to complete their assignments. I had to walk to the window for a few moments of gazing to recharge my joy-seeker.
The day continued to go downhill. By fourth hour I had listened to so much complaining and endured so many arguments I was feeling defeated and frustrated. I spent time alone regrouping at lunch and emerged hopeful for the afternoon. My hopes were dashed as I encountered an almost overwhelming onslaught of negativity from the people around me in the next few classes. It was a relief to hear the final bell and get in my car to head home. I, however, was not the only one have a rather bad day and so the evening turned out to be as frustrating as the rest of the day. I arrived home from running errands later at night only to hear my apartment manager had been extremely rude to my daughter - and had used her daughter to do it. I walked into my bedroom and sat down on the bed, shaking my head in disbelief. As I sat there I remember my status from the early morning.
“HA!” I thought, ironically, “They did. They DID suck every moment of joy out of my day!!” But the boomerang effect of that made me laugh. And then I started thinking about how the status had a double meaning and that seemed really funny. And then I started being thankful I am alive, in spite of the negative things I have to deal with. If I really think it through, there is usually an upside to every downer. My students who hate math are learning math in spite of themselves. I believe God has gifted me to teach and I see the results. People are difficult, and my apartment manager is no exception - but I am glad my daughter can learn how to handle frustrating situations like this one with me by her side.
I find sometimes I really have to dig deep and search and squeeze and work hard to find joy, but it is always there to be found. I would rather be a person who brings hope and light and happiness to others than be a joy-sucker who takes the fun out of everything. My early-morning times alone with God rejuvenate and prepare me for whatever I will face. In a supernatural way He overcomes the negative assaults of the world and replaces them with His positive glimmers of joy and peace. So even though it might seem for a short time like the joy has been sucked out of my day - I can turn that around and take it right back!