Dancing with Daffodils

I really love when the daffodils explode along the roadside in spring. It’s still been colder than I’d like and with unpredictable bouts of rain, but with the wet and slightly warmer weather, there have been the unmistakable signs of spring. Just like there was a lot of wind and weather change this week, I had a lot that went on in my life. I can’t cover everything, but there were a few highlights like bright pops of yellow daffodils that are worth sharing.

First, that doctor’s appointment that was inconveniently placed in Zürich, Switzerland where everything is more expensive went remarkably well (especially considering how expensive it was). While getting blood drawn and coughing while someone pokes me are not highlights, the friendly doctor put me at ease and encouraged me to take up swimming (which is still not likely). His well timed “Praise the Lord” interjection in my medical history was a nice bonus too. Plus spending time driving to and from Zürich with Stacie was a delight.

This week I also had some beautiful connection points with former students. I called one who lives outside of Paris to chat with her and her husband about how they are growing in their faith. The other call was with a former student who needed to interview someone for a class who majored in the same subject he is studying. I was honoured to be selected, and it was a really fun conversation to share about my journey to become an English teacher with one of my former English students at the exact moment when my high school English teacher who inspired me to pursue this career sent me a text message to let me know she was praying for me.

Some of Isaiah’s questions were more out of personal interest than related to his paper, but I liked the opportunity to ponder some of his open ended questions. At one point I brought up the St. Francis quote I’ve meditated a lot on that translates something like, “The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.” I shared about some of the seniors who had come to my house last week and spent time writing encouragements to their peers because they know their class is not particularly kind. The action had a small ripple, and a few of my juniors got excited when I made space for them to write intentional encouragements during class a couple of days this past week.

I’m on spring break now, and I’ll be traveling to visit two of my favourite people on the planet in two different countries, and I want to think about how I can practice representing Jesus better on those trips. I also have two months left with these juniors after spring break, and my prayer for them is to see transformation into being known as a class of students who are kind. I’ve told them this before, and I won’t stop praying for them to be the bright yellow spot in someone’s dreary day like a hardy daffodil popping up to signal spring and new life.

Even a single sticky note with an encouragement can be a daffodil of hope when someone feels hopeless. I got five unexpected sticky notes from students this week – and it made my day each time. I also had an unexpected pop of yellow joy when a former student asked me to proofread her honours thesis – not because I love proofreading, but because that clever girl snuck a shout out to me in the acknowledgements. I also love reading her stories of how she is shaped as a TCK. She shows up with different cultures clashing inside her and harmonises them as she actively works to love God and love others.

There’s a single daffodil that showed up next to the tree outside my house last year. It wasn’t planted, but this thing brought me such incredible joy when it opened overnight. This year, I kept watching for it to come back. Due to the shade it gets, the blossom hasn’t exploded just yet, but I’ve been waiting patiently as the stem gets taller and the yellow peeks out from the green. I can see it when I watch the rain and sit in the sun at my picnic table. I love this little spot of joy in the yard that showed up without invitation and uses this walnut tree as it’s backdrop to declare the glory of the Lord.

So, sure, this week had some low points, but it also had this scattering of unexpected daffodils, joyful moments that I thank God for. I’m exhausted from the rest of the week, and I’m looking forward to the chance to recuperate some energy while reflecting on the daffodils. Or as Wordsworth says,

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

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