Hello, God. Welcome to My Classroom

I Haven’t Written Anything Lately

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on October 7, 2013
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I have not posted on my blog for one month. The words haven’t been flowing, or maybe I’m swallowing them along with all the emotions I’m attempting to hide. My emotions have been so raw lately, blood might ooze onto the page with every keystroke. An illness in the family, surgeries, hospitalization, and more surgery to come, and yet my life keeps moving on, day by day, while I don’t write.

My family is far away. The majority of my family members live in Missouri; I’m in Virginia. Being many states away makes it difficult when I know I could help if I lived closer. Helplessness, sadness, and guilt become braided together tightly enough to create a noose, strangling me and making me unproductive.

I have been alternating between bouts of intense prayer, times of fighting the liquid emotions that flow freely at inopportune times, and periods of numbness. Happy moments seem faded, but welcome, like an old pair of tennis shoes that had been drying in the sun.

News from Missouri has become more positive of late. Thank you, God. Hope continues to grow, and my numbness is starting to wane. So for today, a few words flow from my fingertips without too many emotions welling over.

No, I haven’t written anything lately. But prayer is powerful.


If the World Gives Up on You…

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on November 20, 2012
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The other morning I passed a car on the side of the road. A white slip of fabric fluttered out the window surrendering its ability to move. As I drove by, I noticed the dents, rust, and other bruises mottling the battered body. No wonder it had given up.

Then something else caught my attention. This pile of abandoned metal wore 30-day tags. My initial reaction was Why would someone buy that piece of junk? Did they really think it would run?

As I drove by shaking my head in disbelief, my thoughts suddenly did a 180-degree turn, and I started considering the hope that must have been involved in the purchase.  Someone hoped that car would provide them with the transportation he or she needed. Even though it looked like it was near death, the purchaser believed.

Likewise, even when I feel battered and useless, God has hope that He can use me. That I can still fulfill the purpose He has for my life. He would still purchase me, no matter how I looked. In fact, He did and the cost was His Son. Even if I feel like waving my flag in surrender, He believes I can keep going and chooses me for the job He requires of me.

Do you ever feel abandoned on the side of the road if you can’t provide what other people expect or need? Sometimes it’s impossible to accomplish everything, and the rejection or dismissal hurts when it’s not done successfully. But that’s what happens when we focus on the world instead of on God. If we concentrate on doing God’s will, the world’s needs will also be met.

Because God doesn’t care if the world has left me stranded at the curb. It doesn’t matter how dented and rusted I look to the world; He still has hope for my future.

Have You Ever Felt Abandoned?

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on September 18, 2012
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Our new puppy is the sweetest little thing, but he can sure make me feel guilty. When we put him in the crate at bedtime or when we leave for school and work in the morning, he yelps and howls like we’re abandoning him forever. If someone walks out of the door, even if there are still other family members inside, he sits at the door and whines with sadness.

Have you ever felt this way before? Abandoned and alone? Or even abandoned when you’re still surrounded by others? So many experiences in life can cause those feelings – death, divorce, illness, conflict, gossip, job loss. It’s easy to dwell on those feelings and forget about everything else life offers, just like the puppy forgets there are other people in the room and a floor strewn with toys and chew bones.

Many of my students understand what it’s like to feel rejected. It breaks my heart when I overhear conversations about walking to the corner gas station to buy dinner because no one is home or seeing them come to school in filthy clothes because no one does the laundry. So many of these young adults struggle to become confident, responsible individuals, but they don’t have good role models to follow.

I’m sure it’s difficult to look at their environments and pick out any blessings. Being abandoned by those who should be taking care of them makes it hard to see a bright future. Of course the neglect invades their education. The feelings of hopelessness make it difficult to believe school can make a difference. That’s one of the greatest challenges the education system faces – teaching a student to believe and have hope in the future.

Last week at work, an email announced a leader in our district is leaving in December for an assignment in another school division. Ouch. The sense of abandonment immediately twisted my gut. My initial reaction doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s the way it happened.

Logically, I understand and even applaud his decision because I know it will benefit his family, and it’s refreshing for a man so dedicated to work to make choices based on the needs of his wife and children. Yes, that’s my logical viewpoint, but emotionally, I feel deserted. He has been a blessing to our district, and his announcement seemed to dim the future. I’m certain someone will replace him who is capable and will also lead our schools well, but it’s difficult to let go of something that has proven so positive. I’m extremely sorry to see him go.

Sometimes life gets so grim, it’s easy to just want to give up. Have you ever convinced yourself that God abandoned you or someone else? When times get tough, sometimes we cry out to God because He doesn’t seem to be present, but if you believe in Him, you know He is there.

Sometimes, like the puppy, we’re just too focused on those who abandon us to see the One who is remains right by our side at all times.

How do you refocus on the positive when you feel abandoned? Please share your story in a comment.

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