The Life of Bon: Give and Take

Friday, June 07, 2013

Give and Take

This week as I was taking down my classroom, I saw this picture- hanging on the wall by my computer.


It is one of my favorite pictures of me and my dad- it was taken the day I started my mission.  I was saying goodbye to my family for a year and a half.  Of course we were sad because we knew we would miss each other like crazy, but more than anything it was a happy day.  I remember hearing my parents promise to write faithfully, feeling so excited for my new journey, and more than anything knowing how terribly proud my parents were of me for making this decision.  And after all, is there anything as great as making your parents proud?

When I look at that picture, I see that day and I feel those emotions- that happiness, that excitement, that complete love.  For the longest time after my dad died, though, I couldn't look at pictures of him and feel happiness.  I felt sorrow, anger, and injustice.  It took me so long to accept that he had to have been taken so early and so unexpectedly from this life.

I remembered how robbed I felt when my dad was taken.  Weeks after my dad's death, an old boyfriend told me that I was seeing myself as a victim.  I remember thinking, "Well no duh!  I am!"  I felt myself a complete and utter victim, someone who had wrong done to them, who had no way of helping themselves.  I felt so powerless and even mad at God for taking my dad.  I remember in those months after my dad's death thinking that the Lord had taken away from me one of the absolute greatest parts of my life and nothing would even be able to make that up.

It was interesting to look at this picture and be reminded of all of those complex emotions as I sat in my classroom.  I had just said goodbye to my students whom I had grown to love tremendously. They had hugged me and taken pictures with me and even given me packs of diet coke. I had surprised even myself as I wept with them when I read them this goodbye letter. In these last days at Copper Hills I have felt so much love and purpose.  I have been overwhelming grateful for my time there- for the love I have felt from the student, for my first "big girl" job, for the total trust those teenagers have in me.

My dad never met in this life "Teacher Bonnie".  When he died I was just finishing my undergraduate courses.  He passed away in November of 2009.  I started my student teaching that January, and became a full time teacher at Copper Hills that next September.  All of my teaching experiences, memories, and treasures have come to me after my dad's death.  The laughs I've had with my students, the pranks we've  played on each other, the cramming for exams... all of this wonderful purpose in my life has emerged since my dad left.

I guess I just couldn't help but think how good God is.  I felt so robbed when my dad died, but it only took one minute of me sitting there surrounded by my books and desks and notes from students to realize that God repays.  I felt like he had taken one of the greatest things from me that November, but it is interesting that since then he has given me another "greatest thing"- which is teaching.  All these experiences and love and terrific students He gave me after He took my dad.




I can't help but be overwhelmed when I think of it all.  He takes, but He gives.  I think about the giant hole my dad left in my heart.  It will never be filled completely, but it's almost like God filled a different part of my heart- a part I didn't know even needed filling.  He filled it with a job that gives my fulfillment and happiness and purpose.  He filled it with a husband who puts glowsticks around the bed so it looks like we are sleeping in the future.  He filled it with a mom and siblings that make great efforts to spend time as a family.  I wonder if when my dad died three years ago, if I could have been able to see all the wonderful things down the road, if I would have mourned so deeply.  God had so much greatness in store for me, but I could only focus on what was being taken from me.

So I guess this would be a thank you to my students and Copper Hills for being the next "great thing" that came in to my life, and in its own weird way, for helping me to heal after losing my dad.  It's true that when one door closes, another opens, but when the door that closes is as big as losing your dad, it takes awhile to understand the enormity and greatness of the door that is opening.  That would be you, my students.  I love you and thank you a million times for letting me be your teacher.




25 comments:

  1. This was beautiful!! I love your words and the outpouring of your emotions through them. This is why I love reading your blog. If you didn't have a single photo in any of your posts, it would not matter because your words paint a vivid image in my mind and opens up a window to your soul. You are amazing!!

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  2. This post gave me goosebumps. You are so right. Sometimes we focus more on what has been taken from us that it takes us a while to realize what we've been given in return. Thanks for sharing this!

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  3. That is a beautiful way to look at things, Bonnie. Sometimes it is hard not to dwell on the thing that are taken from us and remember the things we have been given in this life. It sounds like you had some amazing students, and I hope you continue to have great experiences at your next job!

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  4. Bon this was so beautiful and exactly what I needed today!

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  5. Such a beautiful post :) You are so right, God takes away. But He sure gives a lot, too.

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  6. This post gave me goosebumps, too! Wow. You really have a way with words, Bonnie. What a beautiful post.

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  7. Bonnie - this is amazing. and I don't think I could have said it any better. I sometimes wonder why horrible awful bad things happen in my life, and after reading this you just worded it so perfect! "to fill a part of my heart I didn't know needed to be filled" - thank you! :)
    oh and excuse me while I whipe the tears from my eyes....geez!

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  8. I'm not at all religious myself, but this post is so moving! Whether you believe in God or not, there's always the lesson to be learnt that just because something is taken from you doesn't mean it's the end of the world, it usually just means that something else great is about to come around the corner...

    www.ganglygiraffe.blogspot.co.uk

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  9. Thank you for making me cry while reading this. This had bittersweet and fantastic, happy and sad all wrapped up in one pretty big package from God. I know all to well that "injustice" you speak about. I lost my mom 8 years ago, and my dad just a little over a year go. God has that way of picking us up after we've been down. I'm glad you discovered your place in this world. It really is amazing. Thank you for sharing!

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  10. Such a touching post. I agree so whole-heartedly with this. I have had to deal with a lot of death in my life and it's comforting to know He will make up for it in other ways... so to speak. Hugs Bon!

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  11. I am crying, this was such a sweet post! You look just like your father and I am sure he is more than proud of you!

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  12. Bon. Wow. So touching. I want to say all sorts of things about this post but some how feel like it is a sacred post. So I will just say, 'thank you'.

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  13. What a beautiful reminder of how great God is! I think back to countless times when I didn't understand his purpose or direction for my life and now am greatful for the hardships I've had to overcome!! Best wishes to you as you endevour your new position at a new school! :)

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  14. What a wonderful and beautiful post.

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  15. This is beautiful.

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  16. this is such a beautiful post. I have felt so moved by it xx

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  17. I am a puddle of tears. Oh my goodness. Thank you, thank you for this. Thank you.

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  18. This was so very sweet! I loved it.. Loss is never easy but you gained a wonderful angel whom watches you every single day of your life sweet girl! Your daddy is very much always with you whether it be a gust of wind or a fond memory you once shared & cherished together...

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  19. Wonderful words, and so very true. God is so faithful. x

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  20. I just found your blog just in time to read this touching post. Thank you.

    Sarah
    The Eager Teacher

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  21. So sweet, Bonnie. :)

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  22. This is so emotional and beautifully written. God is great indeed.

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  23. Thank you for your vulnerability in writing this. It made me think of each group of my students, and how each one was what I needed that specific year. Funny how God has a way of doing that for us teachers, huh? [Don't get me wrong, there is always "that one class" too, but usually the good and joy and laughter out weighs the bad.

    It was also a good reminder as I have spent some time "grieving" this past year as I gave up teaching for this time to be with my daughter; a good reminder in showing me how God has given me Blythe to fill in a few empty places.

    Now? Summer on, my friend.

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  24. What a beautiful post, and one that makes me think about how lucky I am in my life and I also think the photos are just so lovely you have such a beautiful smile

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  25. Bonnie, this is the EXACT same feeling I have for loosing my grandmother in June of 2008. Even though I didn't know it at the time, I found out after meeting David that I was blessed in having a man that treated me extremely well and a son that arrived on my grandmother's birthday, a year after she had passed. Even though she isn't exactly here with me, I know that she gave me David and Zak (as well as another on the way this December!) to make sure that I could be content and happy with, as well as to make new adventures with two of the most craziest individuals I know.

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