The wind blows where it pleases

We live speaking permanence and breathing change.

The gentle tap of raindrops on the pavement crept into the silence. Is that rain? I got out of bed and peered through the window into the gray-washed dawn. Wow – three days in a row now. After it’s been dry for weeks.

The young girl looked at me from across the table. I’m a terrible singer. Really? How do you know that? You’re 12. Apparently musical ability is a state of being. So, if I taught you something, would you be surprised? She grinned uncertainly back at me.

Last week the trees were bare. Yesterday their blooming crowns scented the breeze. Today, an amethyst carpet covers the playground, and we stop and stare.

Why is it that change surprises us? If every day is new and all things are dying, should it not be the opposite? Should we not shake our heads in wonder at those things which remain unchanged? Like the little umbrella tree on my balcony: the young plant has been there a year and not put out a single new leaf. It’s alive – I water it – and it’s still the same height as when I potted it. Yet somehow this surprises me less than when I come out one morning with my pitcher of water and find bright red blossoms on the geranium. When did that happen? How did I miss it? Why should I not come out one morning and say, Of course you would bloom last night – how lovely. But you, no new leaves? What’s going on?

My sister has a new name. Friends and family marvel: Wow, when did she get old enough to marry? As if it could be measured and dated any better than my geraniums.

My friend Lee is getting married in three weeks. Six months ago, she had only just met the man who would capture her heart and today she’s working on wedding plans. She has experienced more change in the last six weeks than in the last six years, and I am inspired; not by her love story (beautiful as it is), but by the gracious way that she lives the change.

The changes in my own world are subtler, though real. I have a new classroom. I mentioned in a September’s blog that the school has grown dramatically this year. More students means more classes, which means more teachers and more demand on the space. After much discussion, the powers that be decided to transform my classroom into an art room and build a new choir room next door. I’ve made new seating charts and we are still breathing paint fumes, but so far it’s working.

I’m developing a rapport with each of my classes. Among a handful of students, there is a growing understanding, respect, and eagerness to learn which I find invigorating.

I’ve recently decided to stay in Kenya for a third school year. Teacher contracts are coming up for renewal in a couple weeks. Until a few days ago, I had been sitting on the fence – now I think it would be wise to stay one more year. The shift from uncertainty to certainty in this area is subtle but significant, and will likely change the flavor of life.

“You should not be surprised … The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” Jn 3: 7/8

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