9/17/08

It's not about me.

Sis. Morgan gave me some great things to think about in response to my last post.  Unfortunately, since I did not have internet access to read her timely words, Heavenly Father decided to teach me in his own way.  I got much more sick.  As in, Monday I ran out of a class and puked over the second story balcony railing.

I couldn't even teach my last class that day, but I went so they would know I cared.  Two of the students proceeded to take me to the campus clinic, translate for me, and then pay for my visit and medicine.  These are kids with almost no discretionary money, but they were thrilled to pay for me.

The love from these kids is very powerful, and Heavenly Father decided to remind me just how strong love is, and just how strong he is.  And how being in China is NOT about me.

This morning I was very sick (I've been sick for a week, but this morning was the worst I've been in several years).  I was supposed to teach 6 classes today, but I couldn't even stand up unless I was running doubled-over to the bathroom.  Luckily, I married a wonderful man, and he was able to give me a blessing.  In the blessing I was told that I would be healed.  Not that I would eventually recover, but that I would overcome the illness, and be healed like people in the scriptures.  I was told I would be blessed with power and strength to teach these students.  And I was told that these blessings would come according to my faith, the love of the students, and the power of the priesthood.

The love of the students.  That line was in the blessing more than once.  Elder Groberg spoke about love, and how powerful it is.  He spoke of feeling the tangible force of love from his sweetheart thousands of miles away, and he said, "Never underestimate the power of true love, for it knows no barriers."  Here in China, I have learned a new lesson about the power of love.

I had to teach.  Heavenly Father said I could, and almost 400 students were expecting me.  I began to get ready.  I couldn't even stand up straight until it was time for me to walk out the door.  I opened the door and uncurled myself, and it was barely manageable.  I began to walk to class, shaking with every step.  I would have been sweating, but I didn't have enough moisture in my body to sweat.

With every step closer to the students, however, I gained a bit of strength.  When I reached the building, a student saw me, and her face lit up as she greeted me and told me I looked beautiful today.  I probably gave her a disbelieving look; after all, I was wearing dirty clothes (everthing I own is covered in chalk dust right now), no makeup, and my hair I had just pulled into a low ponytail to keep it out of my face when I was hanging over the toilet earlier.  But she thought I was beautiful, and she was glad to see me.  It gave me enough strength to get up the stairs.

In my first class the students were openly excited to see me, which made me a little more glad to be there (though I really just wanted to be curled in a ball in bed).  I sent the class monitor (one of the top students) with some money to go buy me some crackers, because I knew if I were going to make it through 6 classes I would need some sustenance.  

I made it through that class.  I explained to the students that I had been sick, and was very tired, and you could see in their eyes that they were rooting for me.  All day it was like that.  Every class was good for me today.  They paid attention, or at least sat quietly.  They participated.  They laughed at my jokes.  They looked concerned when I said I was only feeling "so-so."  They were grateful when I said I was glad to see them again.

This morning I was curled in a helpless ball.  There is no way I could have taught on my own.  But Heavenly Father is stronger than that, and between faith, love, and the power of the priesthood, I received a miracle.  I have seen miracles before, and I have a firm testimony of the priesthood, but never have I felt so strongly the effects of human love.  

I am grateful today for all who give love.

P.S. our blog should be cooleyandshannoncooley.blogspot.com; hopefully it will work.

4 comments:

Sky said...

Beautiful post. Thank you.

Sarachel said...

Yes--thank you.

iBo said...

Sometimes as a student I feel that the teacher gives so much, and I have no way of repaying them. Perhaps that's how your students felt.

meg said...

Holy cow Shannon! These last two entries make me think I'd better pray for you more. :) )That's what i'm saying instead of saying it makes me very sad, because then you might not write like that anymore, but please do!) I can't imagine being in your shoes with soooo many students who speak a totally different language. You are the girl for the job though! I think you have to do a lot of direct instruction (in front of the class) rather than groups, as you've figured out. Irr, I have to go right this second, but I'll think it over and write back. I love you!

Meghan