In the Rain

"I'll do my cryin in the rain..."

My Dad used to play that old song in his truck when I was little, but of course I didn't understand at the time that it was a break-up song. I had to laugh at myself a little when I found myself hurrying toward home today, umbrella in hand, singing "crying in the rain." Let me explain.

The precious children and I were all "agitați" (on edge) this morning, and the other English teacher was out sick, which meant my partner had to take her classes and leave me solo. I do this often, but it didn't go well today. I tried games (cooperative, student-focused learning!), they said I wasn't fair. I tried to learn a fun poem with movements (active learning!), they decided climbing on their chairs should be included. I gave them the coloring page they'd been asking for all week (seat work!), they put the eraser ends of four pencils in the sharpener. I tried the "chair of shame" in the corner, taking away behavior reward points, the classic Romanian "on your knees with your hands on the wall" punishment, and everything in-between. I screamed a couple of times -- not out of anger, but to be heard over what seemed to go from silence to rhino stampede in 2.5 seconds. A five-year-old laughed in my face.

That's when I quietly and calmly declared in English, "I'm going to cry." They started asking each other, in whispers, what "cry" means. And then I did it. I cried. Not much, just enough to be embarrassing, and then I finished my morning. I made it to my lunch break in one piece, holding it together as far as the school gate, but spent the rest of my walk home wondering if the rain really does hide tears, or just makes you look even more pathetic while you parade through town with red eyes.

It would not have been a good morning to ask me if I want to be a teacher when I grow up. That's what we're learning about this week in English class -- careers.

I'm not a good teacher, anyway. Good teachers keep control of their classrooms. Good teachers make learning fun, or at least tolerable, and their students pay attention. Good teachers don't get frustrated or raise their voices. Good teachers don't have bad days. Is this really worth it? Why don't I just go back to America where I'd at least get paid to deal with unruly children? Why did I even come here? 

I'm a failure.

These are the kinds of thoughts you have when you lose focus. It's what happens when you let your guard down and go through the day like you don't have an Enemy who lives to steal, kill, and destroy. What's more, these thoughts are lies. In a moment of frustration and weakness, I listened to the Liar. I believed him. And then I came to my senses.

Instead of taking off on foot toward the airport, which I considered, I ran to my "Rock of habitation, to which I may continually come." I stood outside on the balcony for a few minutes, breathing in the cool, wet air and daring to ask Him, "Where are Your goodness and mercy today? You said they would follow me all the days of my life. Show me." Then I opened my Bible and started extinguishing those fiery lie-darts with Truth, not fully expecting answers but willing to try anything to stop the endless mental replay of my morning. One chapter and three cups of coffee later, I started to feel brave again. Moses didn't always feel like things were going well, but he was obedient, and I'm obedient, and God is faithful. "Thank God for an empty house this afternoon," I whispered.

An empty house on a rainy day... I had my answer.

The rain kept my roommate at her office and gave me lunch in solitude. The rain may or may not have distracted the public from seeing me cry in the middle of downtown. The rain stopped long enough for me to go back to school after lunch. The rain brought parents to pick up their kids a little earlier from the after-school program. The rain made me accept a ride home from someone whose conversation encouraged me. On a day that felt like me versus fifty Kindergartners, at least the rain was on my side.

I guess you could say His goodness and mercy were in the rain today.

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