so i haven’t blogged with my own original thoughts in almost a month. i also haven’t blogged about this semester at all, and we’re at midterms already. oh goodness. i might make this just a random stream of thoughts about what i’ve been learning and living lately.

september may be my favorite month. i’ve always said that fall is my favorite season in nashville (and nashville is my favorite city, so that means fall is pretty special…) but i think what i really love is this transition time from summer to fall. nashville has had an unusually long summer, and i’m so glad it’s finally down into the 70s, but i’m also thankful that dresses and skirts weather has lasted so much longer than usual. i love september because it’s when life really settles back into normal- back into the routine, and i remember what it is i love about this place. i love september because the leaves haven’t changed yet but it’s like everyone’s watching them in anticipation. i love the colors of september. i love the long-ish days. i love running in the park. i love that it’s not busy yet, but it’s not boring either. i love the sounds of september. i also love that october isn’t too shabby either, so it’s not like there’s nothing to look forward to :).

i don’t love my classes this semester, and that’s okay. i love one of them. i really dislike two. the others are okay. what i do love is the classes i’m teaching in- which is how it should be. i love that i leave school every tuesday and thursday and remember that i get to do this for the rest of my life, for as long as i want to, and i love it. it’s the highlight of my week. i’m blessed to be in a second grade and a fifth grade classroom this semester, and i couldn’t tell you which one i like better. i love elementary school, i love teaching, and i’m so blessed to be able to practice what i love all the time.

i’ve been learning a lot this semester outside of school too. God’s been teaching me about how small i am, and about how big he is. it’s something i very much needed to learn. i came into school this year with lofty goals about how rachel was going to change the world and what rachel was going to do to make a difference and how wonderful rachel was. and i started in on doing it too- i started volunteering regularly and giving my time and money sacrificially and spending every moment of free time working on changing the world. and i quickly learned that i was too small to change anything. there are still seventh graders who are pregnant. there are still families without food. families just down the block from me, living in a beautiful dorm room on a beautiful campus, in a body that has never known a day of hunger. there are still people in this city who can’t get a job or an education or an equal opportunity because they weren’t born here or don’t speak our language. there are still broken families, still terrible and sad deaths, still abuse and hurt and poverty and brokenness, and nothing i could ever do will change any of that. and it was an incredibly humbling lesson. but i also learned something beautiful.

i learned how big our God is. the God who created the universe, the God who spoke everything into being, just spoke and it existed, loves me enough to work through my small-ness. loves me enough to give me opportunities to hang out with the least of these on an almost-daily basis, and gives me the opportunity to be a part of their stories. the world is still broken. there is still so much more hurt than i can even comprehend. but God has a big plan for all of this. and i’m learning to see the beauty in the scars.

Cardboard cutouts on the floor
People wish that you were more like what they wanted you to be
Eventually they won’t have much of you at all in their theology
The walls are closing in on you
You cannot be contained at all

I don’t want to make you small
I don’t want to fit you in my pocket
A cross around my throat
You are brighter than the sun
You’re closer than the tiny thoughts I have of you
But I could never fathom you at all

Broken moldings all around
Broken people hit the ground
When they discover that you’re not here for our benefit
You love in spite of us
You use the least of us to prove the strong aren’t really strong at all

JJ Heller, “Small”