A Man familiar with us

Hello, Dear Reader!  After a couple of 70 plus hour work weeks of parent teacher conferences, a class online, and just generally teaching school in today’s culture, I am happy to return to the blog.  Thanks for returning with me.

It’s honestly hard for me to process what I’ve experienced these past nine weeks during the first quarter of the school year.  While still immensely hopeful in all areas of my life, I am simultaneously heartbroken.

Every Friday in my math class, we end with Trashketball, a 5th grade favorite, for sure.  (I would also add a h-u-g-e motivator for students to complete their work during the week.  This ain’t the first rodeo for this old teacher!)  Sometimes Trashketball runs right up until it is time to switch back to our homeroom classes and sometimes we are left with one to two minutes.  If just one or two minutes remain, my math class then embarks on “Questions with Mrs. Jagger.”  Some questions this year have been typical and expected. “What’s your favorite color?  What is your favorite food?  What’s your favorite fast food restaurant?”  Some questions make us all laugh such as, “What is your favorite wild animal?” to which I responded, “Kindergartners!”  (Oh kindergarten teachers. . .we have immense respect for you!)

And then there was this deep question last Friday:  “What is your biggest fear?”

I paused.

I figured the students were waiting to hear me say, “Death,” but I would have been lying to them, as death is truly not my biggest fear.  I continued with a longer pause than I usually give and responded. “My biggest fear is that the world will get meaner and more difficult than it already is for you and I’m so so sorry about that.”  

This past summer I’d written a blog calling 2021 the “Year of the Dog” (in reference to a biting snarling dog attack I endured) and boy, did I hit the mark!  At every angle, it feels as if the daggers, darts, and flaming arrows are ceaseless in 2021.  

Disappointments, unbelievable turns of events, heartaches, tears, and helplessness all wrapped up in immense hope and joy.  Honestly, this is the toughest my life has ever been. . .and that’s saying something when I think about how tough the wreck and its aftermath were!

And by coincidence, (I think not)  I recently was in the Old Testament book of Isaiah again where I read this gem which I am clinging to desperately, in what feels like desperate circumstances at every turn.  

“He [referencing Jesus] was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.”  (Emphasis mine.)

Jesus gets it and I can’t get Jesus confused with people.  Jesus was a human, and oh my goodness, Jesus suffered.  His suffering makes my suffering seem small.  He is familiar with pain, pain that comes in all shapes and sizes and from all different places.  Jesus understands physical pain and mental anguish.  Jesus understands emotional pain and our concern for others that can only bring us to our knees sobbing.  Jesus gets it.  He knows what it’s like to be viewed as a villain.  He knows what it’s like to look around and think, “What in the world is going on?”  He knows what it’s like to have loved ones reject Him.  He knows!  Someone knows!  Someone understands!  I am not alone, Dear Reader!  You are not alone, Dear Reader!

Jesus is a man of suffering and familiar with pain.  He gets it and He gets us!  And that. . .that is how we can continue in hope, no matter how mean the world gets.  This is why I’m trusting the only Man familiar with us!  And that is why I need to try to trust Him more and fear this mean world less.  

Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.