I have had the privilege to teach for quite a while now.  I have learned that I need a little of the past to keep hope for the future. There are many days when the sun shines brightly; there are others that seem like there will never be sunshine again. Students can be like that. One day everything is going well, then the next it seems as if they never learned a thing. They require unconditional, unfailing love—I Corinthians thirteen love.  Sometimes they give some back, but mostly they are good at absorbing all you can give and then demanding more as well.  If you truly are a teacher, then it is easy to get discouraged when you give your heart and soul to teach a student, only to see him fail.  You work so hard to inspire excellence, only to be knocked down by an inexperienced parent or an unexpected disaster.  Sometimes the student himself doesn’t see the importance of a given concept and fails to heed the lesson.  It is so discouraging, and if you are not careful it can make you want to give up.  Quite by accident, many years ago I discovered a secret that has helped me through those days of defeat and discouragement.  I want to share it with you.  It is my top left-hand drawer.

You see, I am left-handed and so naturally the most important drawer of my desk is the one most readily available on my left-hand side.  You could do the same thing on the right if you are right-handed.  It is not so much the drawer; it is the contents of the drawer that is important.  It holds those little notes that students have given me through the years.  You won’t get one from every student, and you usually only get one per child in a lifetime.  God seems to pay the postage, for they often come just before or just after one of those dreary days.  It has taken years, but I have stacked many of them neatly in that drawer. There are sweet notes of gratitude and success from my former students.  There are graduation announcements, pictures, and even a few short letters.  When I get a little down-in-the-dumps, I find a quiet moment and reach in my hide-away.  Something magical happens, and I am transported to a very special land of Renewal.  I choose a note and am instantly reminded of victories from the past. A memory drawer can help fill the gap between victories.

Those notes are a source of strength for me. It helps prompt me that neither Rome nor my students are built in a day. It reminds me that my all-powerful heavenly Father in awesome strength finished all creation in only six days, but in His great mercy and patience, He is still working on me.  It reminds me that I can have a bad page or even a bad chapter, but I am not going to have a bad book!  I need some of the past to help remind me that as long as there is breath in me and my students, the clouds will roll away, and there will be sunshine again.

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Jim Carey, Christian School Teacher

Jim Carey was the first staff member hired by Pastor Trieber in 1976. For over 40 years, he has served in many capacities. He has taught in the Christian school since its inception and has taught junior church every Sunday for that entire time as well.