Posted April, 2019
Listening to others talk about their relationship with Jesus sometimes leaves me feeling lacking. I want to have that feeling, that close personal relationship with Jesus I hear others talk about. As I was praying about that very thing this morning, that little voice spoke to my soul – you know that little voice, right?
“Look into the faces of the children, and all the people you meet. That’s looking into the face of Jesus. That’s what will bring you closer.”
I have worked in the school system for many years, the first few years with a local high school, and the last 13 years with a small elementary school. As is true with many schools in a metropolitan area, we have a wonderfully diverse student population, but we also have students and families with many needs. Working in the administration offices of the school with payroll, scheduling and purchasing, I have limited contact with students and their families. But this day, I determined, would be different. I would make the effort to walk around the hallways and really look into the faces of these children, sometimes active and vibrant, but many times sullen and unhappy. I would look into the faces of the tired and struggling teachers as they try to juggle testing, documentation, behavior issues and grading while trying to fit in some teaching. What will I find in their faces?
There was a teacher with tears in her eyes as she talked to her fourth-grade class about bullying. She had overheard the discussion about a child in our school being bullied, and the effect it had on the small kindergarten student.
I, with a silent ‘thank you, God’, watched my office co-worker calm a very distraught child. A little boy who is a ‘frequent flier’ for bad behavior in the principal’s office, wasn’t sure why he had been sent, once again, to the office. As she calmed him and told him he was not in trouble, he visibly leaned in toward her for reassurance. I have no idea why he had been called to the office, but I watched as this woman offered a tissue and a smile to a scared little boy. And I was grateful for her.
Another vital woman works in the cafeteria during the lunch hours, and in the middle of mayhem and extreme eardrum-splitting sounds, has a smile on her voice as she opens yet another milk for children and cleans up spills. Settling disputes and preventing food fights are daily occurrences. Her soft voice and gentle resolve had children eating and lowering their voices to laugh and talk with their fellow students.
As I walk down the hall, deliberately looking into children’s faces, I am grateful for the response of looking into the eyes of these sweet children. I’m surrounded by hugs, and happy faces.
Teachers in their classrooms, gently admonishing some and praising others. There were also the harried looks and mighty sighs, but always a smile was returned to me.
Students bent over their desks in concentration, with that tell-tale tongue sticking out the side of their mouth as they tried ever so hard to print the correct way. The little boy kicking the seat in front of him, and putting his head down on his desk when he saw me looking. Girls giggling in the hallway to the lunchroom, putting their hands over their mouth when their teacher shushed them.
As I think about all of the faces I have looked into today, I understand something else in addition to looking for Jesus in their faces. I think about Jesus walking down that hallway and looking at the people I have seen today. And the Love, the complete Love and Joy He has for them.