As a school therapist in 2 different inner-city schools, I have many ups and downs in my day. I have joyful, playful, and hopeful moments with kids and parents. I play more Mancala (which every single kid has different rules for!) and Candyland than ever in my life. Children use the play kitchen sets to “cook” marvelous creations of soup and cookies, and vegetables, and I get to “eat” them. I listen to children’s exciting news about good grades or a basketball game. I watch as kids create beautiful art, expressing emotions they weren’t aware were there.
But then there are the sad moments- the frustrating, angry, unsettling moments. I see little ones with so much pent up anger, it is frightening. I see parents who are angry, overwhelmed, harsh, and unintentional with their kids. I hear sad, sad stories about broken families, deaths of loved ones, abuse, addiction, unstable homes.
Today was one of those days in which the sad moments seemed to outweigh the happy ones. These days it can feel like a little too much to carry. I want to change the situations of the kids’ lives, but sometimes all I can do is be present and loving, using my skills and gifts to provide a healing space, and pray.
Feeling powerless and discouraged, I left the school today and got in my car to drive home. On the radio was a Christmas song that repeated the word, “Emmanuel,” over and over again. You know, the one that Amy Grant used to sing, the one from the 80’s?
As corny as it can be, it was just what I needed to hear at that moment. I needed to be reminded that though some situations feel hopeless, Christ is present as Emmanuel, God With Us. Jesus is even in those sad, difficult, angry moments.