This week I was shocked in my English classes.
There’s been a lot of talk on the news about the impact of the pandemic on the lives of students. Whether elementary, middle-school, high school or university, there’s no question that schooling looks very different, but I’m not sure I was prepared for some of the things my students had to say about it in their own words…
Literal Flood Waters
The Vienne River, which flows through Châtellerault, is roughly 14′ (4.3m) higher than normal. That means that in many places where I could comfortably stand and watch the river flow by, I could stand on my own shoulders and my ‘uppermost head’ would still be a good 2-3′ underwater.
Roads are closed. Traffic patterns are changed and older or compromised structures risk giving way under the pressure.
It’s ironic that this should be happening at this time, but it is, therefore it’s also a suiting metaphor for how my students are experiencing the pandemic.
Figurative Flood Waters
As part of our class warm-up discussions this week I asked a simple question:
“What makes you nervous / anxious about the ongoing health situation?”
I was surprised at the answers I received:
- Many are scared about the future… they’re performing arts students in a country where all forms of performing arts (theatre, cinemas, live concerts) have been virtually shut-down since the Fall. They wonder if there’s a future in their field of study.
- Some are scared because members of their families have pre-existing conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to Covid.
- One student was scared because a relative worked in a place where there have been lots of cases… they were afraid their relative would die.
- One was afraid because someone close to them has considered suicide, and that option is not yet off the table.
Not only do students have legitimate academic concerns and future-oriented questions, and the health concerns that we all have to deal with. In the case of the last student, there’s the ongoing worry about this other person: “What if they do something drastic? How can I prevent it?… etc.”
That’s a lot for an 18-20 year old to carry.
- I wanted to give them a group hug (but we were meeting via video conference).
- I wanted to tell them that they don’t have to rely on their own strength, but that the LORD could help them when their strength was not enough (but in my professional capacity, there’s a fine line there that can’t be crossed – UGH!).
If it wasn’t for the Lord…
There’s an old gospel song somewhere that says… ‘If it wasn’t for the Lord, I don’t know where I’d be.” Many of you have said it… I’ve said it.
The implication is this:
- My strength is finite. It has its limits. It gets weighted down with the cares and pressures of life and yes, sometimes, it gives way. Sometimes… my strength isn’t enough. On the other hand…
- His strength (Jesus’s) is perfect. It is in-finite. There is always a vast supply and I have access to it through my relationship with him.
That’s good news.
Today I’m extra thankful for the love, grace and strength of the Lord.
It sustains me even when the flood waters of life are swirling.