This weekend we had our traditional Back to School dinner
with the kids' favorite foods
and a campfire and s'mores.
We gave the kids new books and introduced our new theme:
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
We reassured the kids that this year, as they attend a new school, and throughout their lives,
loving others will bring success.
It was a lovely night, but Talmage has really been dreading school starting.
Change has always been really difficult for him and that has been manifested in different ways over the years.
I found myself holding back tears as I walked down the hall at Back to School night because my heart was hurting in a totally new way.
It has been hard for me to see my boy, who has always been one of the most social kids on the entire planet and who also LOVES school, become withdrawn and reluctant to speak to anyone, staring at the ground and mumbling answers to questions. This change had persisted despite many efforts on our part to help him through his emotions. The brief interaction with his teacher highlighted that change that has taken place with this move.
As I felt that flood of emotions wash over me, I heard a familiar voice say, "Are you guys here now??"
I turned and found myself face to face with Talmage's first-grade teacher from last year!
I was baffled.
Not only were we at a different school, but she retired at the end of last year!
She explained that she just couldn't stay away and had come to work as a reading tutor at this school.
Talmage absolutely lit up to see her and gave her a big hug.
They chatted for a while about his summer and about the move and she told him a few things about his new school and I watched a change come over him.
That withdrawn little boy disappeared and his social personality emerged again.
As we drove home, I was holding back tears again, but for a completely different reason--
because my heart was overflowing with gratitude toward a loving Heavenly Father who loves a 7-year-old boy so much that He would send a familiar, encouraging face to him in a moment of distress.
"Now I can't wait to start school!" he said as he played with Maxwell's fingers and made him laugh.
God is so, so good.
And He loves us each individually.
I know it.
"Suppose I am writing a novel. I write 'Mary laid down her work; next moment came a knock at the door!' For Mary who has to live in the imaginary time of my story there is no interval between putting down the work and hearing the knock. But I, who am Mary's maker, do not live in that imaginary time at all. Between writing the first half of that sentence and the second, I might sit down for three house and think steadily about Mary. I could think about Mary as if she were the only character in the book and for as long as I pleased, and the hours I spent in doing so would not appear in Mary's time (the time inside the story) at all. This is not a perfect illustration, of course. But it may give just a glimpse of what I believe to be the truth. God is not hurried along in the Time-stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world."