There was a year, not that long ago, that I call my hardest year. It was a year of teaching that started with great joy. A new school, a new job, a new niece coming home from China, new students, new friends. It was great. I won't pretend that every day was perfect, but it was a pretty awesome year.
Unfortunately, as these things go, it did not stay awesome. Unexpected and unwelcome pain came into my joints, a great friend experienced a great loss, and a friend and colleague passed away. Things went from being pretty awesome, to pretty unbearable in the the span of a month....
And despite all of that, despite the pain, and grief, and loss, there was my 1st period math class. And they were awesome. They were awesome through everything. They held each other up and cried together when they lost a great teacher. They worked together through a grief that most had never know. They never laughed, never mocked, never spoke unkindly about anyone going through that pain. They were a great example to me. An example of compassion, and love, and strength.
On days when my physical pain was too much, they offered to open my diet coke (clearly they understood the importance of my morning diet coke). They helped uncap pens, open doors, carry books. They asked how I was, how I felt, if I needed anything. They were great and they will forever hold a very special place in my heart. They, quite honestly, helped me get through that year.
In that class, among so many great and amazing kids, there sat a tiny girl (close to the front so she could see, which I can say since I was a short kid too). She may have been small, but she was Mighty, with a grin that could knock your socks off. She worked with intensity to get very problem right. She offered her help to anyone who might need it (me included). She never complained, or frowned, she was joyous...always.
She is a little bigger now, despite my belief that all of my former students remain frozen in the 6th grade, she has grown. But she still has that grin, and laugh, and spunky attitude. She is still Mighty. And she is fighting a great battle. A battle against cancer. A battle that she CAN beat. A battle that is being fought with doctors, and medication, and attitude, and (above all) prayer.
I won't post her name, but you can be sure that God knows who I'm talking about. Won't you join me in praying for her? For health and healing. For a continued positive attitude. For her family to stay strong. For her doctors to be wise. For the cancer to be defeated. For the Mighty to overcome!