A New Hope

Little Doomsday Preppers

Hope is a funny thing, it turns up when least expected and yet most needed.

I’ve been in and out of special education facilities over the last three weeks, for my class on the Exceptional Child in the Regular Classroom, and I was surprised by hope.

I’m learning about different ways to teach all my students, especially those kids who struggle with various types of disabilities.

I had a powerful learning experience at The Joshua School, which was founded by several Denver Public School teachers to help educate kids with autism.  Visiting the school was emotionally draining, but also uplifting at the same time.

Typically I feel very comfortable in a classroom, but when I toured the school I felt pushed, uncomfortable.  At one point a young boy started screaming and I didn’t know what to do.  The incredible staff didn’t lose a beat, they helped him, as they do all of their students, and soon everyone was back to learning.  Most of the kids were learning one on one with a teacher, using iPads and other cool gadgets.  It’s the goal of the school to find out what motivates each student, so that all of the kids, with their varying difficulties due to autism, are able to learn.

One of the school’s main goals is to help the kids learn how to socialize.  It is a struggle for most of the families to take their kids out to movies or dinner, but The Joshua School believes that learning is almost useless if the kid cannot enjoy life with his or her parents.  The kids struggled with the simplest of tasks, but they also all were so human, so like me, with wants and needs.

Hope is when you see someone hurting and you stop at nothing to help.

Havern, a private school for kids with learning disabilities, and the next school I visited, made me realize how broken we all are.  None of the kids looked different from the students I taught in Guatemala, as they looked like normal kids, but the students at Havern find it difficult to verbalize their needs.  They need extra help learning how to read and write due to learning disabilities, but because of this school many are able to reenter regular schools by the start of high school.

This got me thinking (a miracle, I know).  We are all broken, aren’t we?  We all have our struggles, just like the kids at Havern or The Joshua School, some of us might not have the best social skills or know know how to spell (just read most of my past blogs).  Yes I know, not everyone has difficulty learning, or needs a special school, but we’ve all had our problems in life.  We’re all broken or have been broken in some way or another.

Hope helps you see the spectacular in the normal, the beauty in the broken.

On Tuesday January 22 I drove to the Children’s Hospital to hear about brokenness.  The Kempe Children Center used to house a day care for physically, emotionally, and sexually abused children.  The stories the presenters told were extremely difficult to listen to.  The two speakers told stories of how these kids had been broken.

At the end of my time at the Kempe Children Center I was asked to do more than listen.  I was asked to give my students hope.

Hope allows someone who has been broken to stop being helpless and realize he or she can survive, but more than that, thrive.

Giving hope to my students wasn’t a new idea, but it seemed strange to come in such an unexpected place.  The people who work at the Kempe Children Center hear so many horrible stories, I would assume they would feel a little hopeless, but they told me that they have to live with hope or they could not go to work each day.  They deal with such heavy burdens, but they also have the hope that they can help that broken child learn to live again and maybe even thrive.

Where can hope be found?

I find my hope for each day in Christ.  This is a cruel world we live in.  We seem to love to hurt each other.  We’re born with imperfections, in need of someone to come along side us and show us how to live and love.  We are a failed people who need fixed.  Yet, when we were our most broken, Christ loved us.  Like the teachers I observed at the schools I visited, He will go to great lengths to meet our needs.  Even death.  That is because He sees the humanity in us all, and loves us still.

6 thoughts on “A New Hope

  1. everything you are saying, it’s ALL so true!,… it can seem as if so many of “the problems” are vast and insurmountable, stretching way out before us,… or sometimes like a bottomless pit,… we can feel puny and helpless in their face,… but it’s also surprising and amazing how far a little love and compassion can reach, and how effective they really are to make a significant and vital difference,… the “problems” are not necessarily going to be mechanically “solved”, but a transformational dynamic enters into the equation that changes not only the game plan, but also the goals,… all at once we understand that we are blessed!

      1. we DO face the cold spirit of resistance: which IS one of the main characteristics of the “spirit of this world’ ~~ (holding as much as it possibly can under its “invisible” chilling spell, or in its relentless demoralizing grip) ~~ which consists of a toxic potion of subliminal negative attitudes, judgments, fears, hatred, demands,… I have found relief and encouragement in Ghandi’s saying: “BE the change you wish to see in the world”,…

        Well,… there IS hope after all,… because WARMTH always melts ice,… and ice can’t defend itself against steady warmth,… as my northern living friend always told her children: “Winter and spring are in a battle that Spring ALWAYS wins!”

  2. edit: … all at once we understand that we are blessed!,… (when we didn’t think we were!)

    … as we inevitably become default consumers of “the (modern) world’s” mixed-bag programming,… it is somewhat fed (implied) to us that things are more or less “under control”,… there’s a plan, don’t worry, “it’s all good”, somebody knows what’s going on, “it’s all working out”,… & yes, obviously we can see that there are problems in life, but we are studying them, we’re working hard on fixing them,… we’ll fix them by making more laws and rules to improve what all the other laws and rules haven’t fixed yet,… and we’ll study, we’ll brainstorm and have ideas and opinions, do more experiments, reason scientifically, talk with experts, do more studies, collect data, analyze data, fudge the data, and then collect new data because stuff changes, and round and round and on and on,…

    sometimes as we become a little overwhelmed with the complexity of the overall situation(s) and demands that face us, we will have that nagging question about who and what are really “in charge” here, and do we all really “know what we are doing?”,… (as much as some seem to pretend?),… it’s scary to think that we don’t, or to feel our helplessness in some of the instances that we face,… but then again, when we find our niche or a comfortable realm, we are pleased to feel that we do have a certain amount of effectiveness and are producing positive results,…

    I have often thought that God must be the (invisible) force that holds this all together, in spite of the diverse and often opposing forces that would seem to be trying to pull things apart in a thousand directions,… (kind of like the way you can count on gravity to hold things on the ground, so they don’t just go flying aimlessly around),…

    there’s no way a single individual can “cover all the bases” with respect to everything that we see going on,… we have to come to terms with our own limitations and our partiality,… but the comforting thing about knowing our God is that since He IS the truly central force “governing” all that is, leaning on Him, having Him as our closest friend and adviser, we are more surely able to maximize our benefits and potentials, while minimizing the personal effects of haphazard chaos and destruction,… as we even witness the evidence of their influence in the vast and complicated world situation that surrounds us,…

    always a good prayer: “Help me, Oh God! I love you, God!”

    1. & this reminds me of a Spanish song that compares us as “individuals” to the small drops of water that make up the great ocean,… each tiny and only equipped to contribute a smallish part to the whole picture, … but together the overall effect and results are amazing, truly transcending the vision and comprehension and understanding of that one little drop,… this is the humility of being “a” human,… (we don’t have to try to be “superhuman”!),… in the largeness of the universe, we play both an active and contingent/dependent role,… the essence of God unites and integrates us with the whole and with one another,… this awareness is part of the spiritual “art” of living,… not a prescribed life of concrete guarantees and foolproof formulas that will “always work” in a certain way,… but an invitation to “walk on water” with God, trusting in Him as we draw ever closer to knowing Him and His Ways,…

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