Goldfish and Good Riddance

Friday at school. And, with no coffee or chocolate to ease the pain that the looming weekend causes students to inflict on one another and on their teachers. I came home with tears in my eyes. Sheer exhaustion and deep cravings for comfort foods dominated my homeward journey.

I want coffee bad (pardon my grammar). Still, I remind myself, all will appear once again in my mug in due time.

The day did still provide a few worthwhile laughs. My favorite came wrapped in plastic and swimming for his aquatic life in a half gallon of water. The best part? Its initial location before lunchtime today.

While passing a teacher on the stairs, I was brought to a halt by her serious question: “Did you know that L has a fish in his locker?” At my slightly shocked facial expression, the question was slightly rephrased: “B informed me that L has his little fish in a bag.” Upon further investigation, the poor fish was moved from the top of L’s locker to a cabinet in the middle school office. There he was watched, cheered on, and ogled all day long before he was finally rescued and brought home. If only I could see L’s mother face, when she saw L’s latest hair-brained idea incarnated.

On a more serious note, tonight marks the end of Day 18 of my 21 day fast. I’ve been privileged to participate in this journey with several incredible women in my life. Women who I admire. Women who pray for me and with me. Women who touch countless numbers of lives each and everyday. Women who I want to grow-up to be like. Women who have done so much better with the regulations of the Daniel Fast. At my chagrined admission about one of my slip-ups, one woman wisely said, “It gives you a feel for trying to keep the letter of the law and how hard that would be!” So true. My legalistic nature wanted to say that I had made it all 21 days without any sugar, artificial sweeteners, dairy, meat, animal products, yeast/leavening agents, white flours, refined/processed foods, or fried foods. But, I can’t say that. Even tonight, I added some chicken to my salad, hummus, and red potato. My body is breaking down on the foods allowed, and my energy is lagging. The letter of the law truly does kill.

Still, I’m praying. Praying more. Praying for others. Praying without thinking about my own needs. Praying to a God who is crazy in love with His children. I do not regret the decision to partake in this fast.

As I penned a note to a student who just received the news that a loved one is about to leave again for another year-long tour, I imagined the smile that hopefully touched her face at my feeble attempt to comfort and encourage. I’m still not the world changer that I planned on becoming, but perhaps God is using experiences such as a shared Daniel Fast to form me into His image.

Perhaps radical faith doesn’t always look as I first imagined…

Perhaps it is more tangible, more real, more life-sustaining and life-giving than any of us ever imagined. Perhaps it is intended more to be integrated into daily, mundane routines than it is to be highlighted in stories of extraordinary actions. Perhaps radical faith is all the more radical when it is displayed by ordinary people engaged in hectic schedules.

I want my life to take shape around a faith that is real, passionate, and stands the test of goldfish in lockers. Teaching may not be a lifelong calling, but living empowered by the Holy Spirit is. And, after Monday, living with coffee will be an added bonus 🙂 IMG_0183

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