I don't want to revisit that place but God brought me back there this morning. He brought me back to the afternoon of January 5, 2011, the day I said, "Goodbye".
I thought I was telling the truth that day. I really believed it when I told my students goodbye. If I close my eyes I can see their happy little faces and feel their arms around me when I dropped them off in the lunchroom. I'd told them that I had to go to a meeting that afternoon and a sub would be picking them up. They wanted to know if I would be back later and I told them no. I told them I would see them tomorrow and they were satisfied.
They crowded around me when I brought them into the lunchroom. Did they sense something that I didn't? All I know is that eager little arms wrapped around me tightly as one by one they told me goodbye. The last time I saw them they were seated at the tables, waving at me and promising that they would be good. I never saw them again.
I suppose the district thought it was for the best to simply whisk me away from the children as if I had never been. After all, promises are broken all the time and no explanation needs to be given, right? Besides, they figured my students were too young to understand what was going on so tell them nothing except, "Your teacher is never coming back again." My inner-city students were used to broken promises and they were used to people showing up in their lives and abruptly exiting without any warning or explanation. They were used to it. Really? Really?
They undoubtedly settled back into a new routine much easier than I did. They had busy days with friends by their side and I sat in silence in a room staring out at a barren world. Teaching had always been my passion. It was the only thing I ever wanted to do. It was who I was and now it had been taken from me. Through circumstances beyond my control what I loved was gone. The woman I had been was gone and the only thing left was a worthless, broken and empty shell.
What use was I to anyone now? Why had God even allowed me to live after I'd had a cerebral aneurysm rupture? It would have been simple. I would have gone to sleep that night and awakened in the arms of God. Instead God had allowed me to live. He could have prevented it from happening in the first place! He could have brought me through it completely unscathed but He didn't. Why?
Nearly eight years later I still don't know the answers. I only know that God knows what I do not. I only know that though I "died" that day, I was also "resurrected". I couldn't see it then... but I can see it now.
The day I said goodbye. I cry when I think about that day. I mourn over what was, who I was but then I remember that God is the God who turns mourning into dancing. (Psalm 30:11-12) It may take a lifetime but His Word is true and I continue to believe that God turns our darkness into light. (Psalm 18:28)