Originally published Friday, 18 October 2013.
So, sixth grade was hands down the worst school year of my entire educational career.
It was the first year of middle school, which meant that eight elementary schools were stirred up and poured through a funnel into the large vat of one building. The vat was, however, divided into two segments – East Side and West Side. And wouldn’t you know … all of my friends from elementary ended up on one side, and I was on the other.
I was lost in a new school of fish, and I hated it. I didn’t want to swim in the sea. I wanted to go back to the comfort of my familiar pond, where the other fish were all friendly and known to me.
But I had joined a new school of fish, and the currents were strong. It was like swimming upstream, and the effort required to stay afloat was less than welcomed by me.
Then came the worst news of all:
We all had to go to sixth grade camp for a week.
Could there be anything worse?
Surely there was some way I could get out of it.
But there wasn’t. It was required.
I dreaded it more than anything else I could remember.
But I went, and it was even worse than expected.
In fact, I cried. A lot. I begged to go home. They wouldn’t let me. I cried some more. Still they declined.
They wouldn’t let me go home, but they did offer a consolation prize: They would allow my mom to come to the campsite for a night.
So my poor, selfless mother drove after work one day, and slept on the floor of the cabin, amidst a slew of bunk beds and smelly sixth-graders. Then she woke up before the sun the next morning, and drove the long distance home to be at work in time for the start of a new day.
She couldn’t grant me my heart’s desire to go home, but she could grant me the gift of her presence.
And that night, that was enough.
Sometimes, we ask things of God – we may even cry and beg and plead … and still His answer may be, “No,” or “Not yet.”
He might not let us go home when we want to, but He sends His Spirit to lay on the floor next to the bunk bed in our darkest of nights.
He may not answer our prayers exactly as we hope, but He always, always grants us the gift of His presence.
And that is enough.
Photo Credit: Mark