When I was in first grade, my dad used to read the Chronicles of Narnia with me before bed each night. I was learning to read, and sometimes I'd get to read the chapter. Sometimes I'd turn the book out of his view when I reached the last page and start on to the next chapter so I could stay up later and get more of the story. It was a good twenty years before I realized I wasn't pulling anything over on him, and he let me read the next chapter knowingly. Narnia is a huge part of my formative experiences, and I still connect deeply with the characters and imagery of that world beyond the wardrobe.
Several weeks ago, I started saying to some students and friends, "Aslan is on the move." It was my metaphorical acknowledgement that the Holy Spirit is moving in Kandern. God is bringing good things, and spring is showing signs of sticking around - although there is snow in the forecast for next week. One of the students who is closest to me this year has heard me say that at least a few dozen times, and she chose to do an "elective" with me during the seniors' activity day on campus this week. (We planned various games and activities for students during the first few days of spring break because our dorm students are unable to travel to parents with current covid restrictions.) I can't take full credit for the elective I ran because it was this student who'd asked me to do a HPST style activity, and I combined the idea with my friend Tessa's idea to do creative responses with students.
Tuesday morning I headed into my classroom to read chapter ten of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with five students and a coworker. Once I read the chapter where the snow begins to melt and Santa shows up to give gifts and shout, "Aslan is on the move," each of us responded to something that stood out in the chapter on a single sheet of paper with a handful of colored pencils. I wrote a poem of sorts.
I was responding to the chapter, but I also pulled from prayers and personal experiences of the past few months and weeks. We went around the room shared our first responses before trading with other people and spending time responding to a response. I got the idea from how Tessa responded to my poems, and we extended creativity. I got permission from everyone to share some of theirs here as I was so struck by the beauty and differences that we all came up with drawing from the same short chapter.
Tuesday morning was a positive for me as I left my classroom with a stack of beautiful responses - haiku, songs, pictures, prose responses. It helped a lot after the yuck of Monday's feelings when I picked up my brand new wheelchair only to discover the big wheels came in the wrong size. Instead of this being the final resolution of seven months of paperwork and waiting, I have to set up yet another appointment to get it fixed and wait an indefinite period of time to be done. Full disclosure, I'm still dealing with those big emotions.
I'm also still dealing with some big emotions related to other people hurting other people, and it's hard to be the one who actually hurts because of someone else's mistakes. I still have muffled hearing out my right ear, so that's yet another thing that's unresolved. These are little things, but they pile up, and yesterday I was faced with another potential frustration as I had an AstraZenica appointment, but I'd heard Germany was recommending no one under 60 receive that particular vaccine anymore. My understanding was I should still go to my appointment and if there was Pfizer on hand, they would give me that instead. By the grace of God, my friend Heather who had already been to this vaccine site twice gave me a ride and was able to accompany me the whole way through as they without question switched me to the Pfizer they had available, and I was in and out of the building in less than 40 minutes - including my 15 minute wait time. After hearing about multiple friends who reacted poorly to their first AZ dose, I had absolutely no side effects to the Pfizer (I'm at 22 hours now).
Something went right, and I'm going to be intentionally grateful for it, because my heart was shattered not long after that.
I woke up this morning to devastating news that's making its way through my community today. I am not able to share details now, but this easily one of the greatest losses I've ever experienced in my life. I spent a solid chunk of this morning sobbing, and for those who've read my blog much, I'm not one to actually let more than a few silent tears leak very often. There was a good ugly cry before I got out of bed, and I'm setting aside today to grieve. Praise the Lord, I do not grieve like those who have no hope, but I will face this head on and honor my loved one well today.
When Aslan arrives in Narnia, he knows there will be great suffering, but he knows there is a Deeper Magic. He knows resurrection comes.
Aslan is on the move.