Since getting back into a school routine, I've discovered that I already have more limitations than I remember having before. This little apple-sized person inside of me drains more energy than I realized when I was on vacation. I'm not exactly the most in-shape and athletic person in the world, but going up three flights of stairs to my classroom leaves me quite out of breath these days. Quick snack breaks between classes (especially in the morning!) have become a necessity - now I see how only having five minutes to transition between classes can seem so short to the students!
I am not complaining about these things: merely observing. This little baby still doesn't seem 100% real to me yet, but he/she has started to change my life and my habits already. I generally tend to be a pretty self-sufficient person for the most part. If I want something done right, I've got to do it myself. Or so I feel. :) As it turns out, that's not exactly true, and this is something that I've been starting to learn and come to grips with over the last couple of weeks.
When it came to planning my classes before the school year began, I had to constantly remind myself that I won't be the only one teaching these classes this year. I have the possibility of having a co-teacher for homeroom time, and I need to start thinking about things *we* can touch on during that 20-minute time at the end of each school day. When I think about attending overnight camp at the beginning of September...well, by that time there's going to be a whole lot of activities that I shouldn't participate in, including the water games, which are by far and away my favorite interactions with my students during the camp, and night games, which usually involve variations of tag and capture the flag.
In my day-to-day activities, I focus my energy on certain things, but not others. Cooking has always been Michael's forte, never mine, but it's falling more heavily on him than it did before. What would I do without a husband who was willing to cook and/or go out to buy food from the street? (FYI - I write this as Michael finishes cleaning the dishes for the dinner that we just ate...which he prepared and cooked entirely by himself...and afterward he told me to go sit on the couch while he did the dishes. Bless him!) He even goes out of his way to make things that will be especially tasty and healthy for me - my current favorite being fruit smoothies. The smoothie unfortunately backfired on us today when the bottom of the blender fell out, consequently leading the entire blended contents to disperse themselves along the counter/cupboard/floor.
Sorry, I digress. Even my brain is changing - I have a harder time keeping track of my own thoughts these days!
I'm not even that pregnant - about three and a half months and just starting to show - and all of these things have started changing already. Why did no one ever tell me that my life would change before the baby was born? These months of baby's growth and our adjusting and planning and preparing have suddenly become so much more important than I realized they would, and that's something I wouldn't have realized without experiencing it.
But the main thing I've learned so far is the importance of service. I've felt so blessed to be served (already!) by people around me. First and foremost, Michael, without whom I would be a crazy mess. The meaning of marriage has been completely changed in my perspective. What would marriage be without service? When one of us is sick, the other gets the chance to serve. When we are both healthy, we have opportunities to support and serve one another throughout the course of every day. When one of us is pregnant (haha. Okay. When I'm pregnant!), we learn differently what it means to serve each other based on so many variables. I can't express in words the importance of both serving and learning to be served.
But I'm grateful to a whole lot of other people in Thailand for their service, too. My coworkers are so excited for us and supportive - several of them seem to use the "It's okay. You're pregnant" excuse for me more often than I do! I've got some friends/acquaintances from church who have passed along maternity clothes that they no longer need - what a blessing to not have to buy an entirely new wardrobe!
What an amazing thing the church is. If this is what serving and being served are supposed to be like, I think I understand more of what "living in harmony" feels like. People do things based on the needs of others, not based on their own desires or rewards. What if we truly served people? What if we really served people who are outside of the church - the kind of people that make us uncomfortable? Instead of staring at them for being different or for breaking our own cultural barriers or rules, what if we acted as the hands and feet of Jesus, purely out of love? We'd be changing a whole lot of things around us, that's for sure.
I've yet to figure out what all of these scattered thoughts mean for my life, practically speaking. What does it truly mean for me to serve my students? What does my service look like as my circumstances change? What does it mean for me to serve Michael, even as he serves me?
Service. Ask yourself some questions and do some reflecting on what service looks like in your life...but don't stop there. Act on it!