Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hope in the inbox: The Apple Tree Lesson

It happens almost every year a day or two before school starts. The anxiety builds up, I feel tired and unprepared for the beginning of school and my house is a wreck. I have something that looks like a mini-meltdown and my husband braces himself with an "I am trying to be patient and understanding but I really hope this is over soon" look on his face while I launch into a diatribe against everything I am afraid I won't be able to accomplish. It is fear-based and ridiculous and likely makes Jesus, Buddha, and the Dali Lama want to tell me to "get a grip." I do, eventually, get a grip and I breathe and smile. In the meantime, I vent rather loudly and rapidly  and when I stop to take a breath, my husband says, "Would you like a glass of wine, honey?"  After 5 or 10 minutes, there is some release and I gain some perspective back: I am prepared, (albeit not for everything and not perfectly)  I love my students, my subject matter, and the people I work with every day. All shall be well.

The next morning, I opened up one of the daily devotional readings that arrived in my inbox:

An inward transformation must produce an outward one. It is one thing to hang a few apples on a pecan tree. It is quite another to grow apples on an apple tree. The latter is a more reliable source of apples. Thus the regeneration of the apple tree, which then produces apples of itself and of natural necessity, is the best, indeed the only way to get apples. But those who claim to be apple trees without producing apples are kidding themselves." (Theodore W. Jennings)

This could mean a hundred different things I suppose but what it meant to me that morning was that first of all there is the need to work on the inner life, to draw from the deep well of God's love to regenerate. I can't produce anything good or worthy without that. As a teacher, I want to produce apples or good things that benefit students but I can't do it if I just appear to be doing the right things. So, this year, I want to regenerate often and to work on the inner transformation, changing my heart and soul before changing the outward works.

So, mini-meltdown over, hope and wisdom in the inbox, and the daily work of transformation begins.

God Bless,

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