I have been missing my niños a lot lately. I had the privilege of teaching 2nd grade for two years in Phoenix AZ. The best part was learning from my best kids.
I've thought a lot lately about love. And how I love other people. And especially how reserved I can be in how I love others. I don't want to offend. I don't want to be too much. I don't want to be awkward. I don't want to show how I really feel. I don't want to give and receive nothing in return. I don't want to be vulnerable. AKA FEAR. I am afraid of loving people. (Which like - I get is in direct contradiction to scripture (There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear) I promise I'm working on it guys :) )
Through all this wonderfully uncomfortable introspection, what I've decided I miss most about my class is the way I always felt so unconditionally loved. They were constantly and unselfishly looking to help others feel loved. I felt like for all of the effort I put in to trying to love them fully, I always received ten times in return. They loved wholeheartedly.
One of my favorite memories happened one day in class when I was having a particularly difficult time. It may have been something to do with grad school, or work in general, but I was tired and I was losing my patience. I'm proud to say that I never once raised my voice or yelled at those kids, but as I said, my patience was wearing thin. I was at the back of the classroom at my "u" table with a group of kids working on reading. The rest of the class was working diligently in their small groups. I looked around, felt overwhelmed (and honestly probably too many feelings in general), and put my head down on the table, probably wanting to cry. And since I have a penchant for dramatics, one of my hands lay outstretched on the table as well :) As soon as I had done this, I felt a little hand grasp on to mine. And then I felt little arms start hugging me. And then more and more little arms. And pretty soon I was swallowed up in a sea of 2nd grade love!
I didn't deserve to be loved in that moment. I deserved to be told, "buck up Ms. Picard, you need to teach us how to read!" or something along those lines :) but! I will always remember how the first instinct of all of those kids was to love me, and to show that they loved me regardless of how I might react to it.
Today, I felt something similar. I was sitting in the parking garage of my building - actually at the lowest level, in the depths of the parking garage!!!!! I had just finished a training for a huge group of people and was returning the company car to it's spot. As has happened throughout my life, there are decisions that are overwhelming me at the moment. I put my head down on the steering wheel and wanted to cry. Similar to my experience when my cutie babies had held my hand and surrounded me in hugs, as I began praying to God I felt a similar sense of peace and relief envelop me. I felt love in a very real way coming from our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am so grateful for people here on earth, like my niños, who love me unconditionally and are willing to show Christlike charity in their interactions with me. My hope is that I can someday be more like them, and in turn more like Christ.
Love you all too much!
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