When I arrived at Camp David this morning, I found a surprise waiting for me. This surprise was in the form of a Hatian Female Substitute teacher. You’ve probably experienced the effect that a substitute teacher can have on a class (unless, of course, you were homeschooled). Cough. Suffice it to say, the classroom was a little more relaxed today. By relaxed, I mean that there was a lot more swearing, shouting, name-calling, and asking the tutors inappropriate questions. These are a few of the questions that I received today:
1. So, you like the beach? Yes. You like to go in your bikini? No, I’m a Christian. You a Christian? Yes.
2. All the Pepperdine girls party every night. You party every night? No, I’m a Christian.
3. How old are you? 20. Mmm. I’m 18.
4. So, if you’re a Christian, that means, you don’t believe in sex until marriage? Right. I just wanted to know how deep your faith goes.
5. You cry a lot? You look like you cry easy. No, I don’t cry much. You a bad girl, or a good girl? You look like you a bad girl.
6. Sorry, I was just looking at your beautiful eyes. What color are they?
7. So, you’re faithful? Yes. So, you have a boyfriend? No. Then, how are you faithful?
It’s kind of depressing working there sometimes. A lot of those kids are in and out of juvi until they turn 18, and then they’re in and out of prison. It’s frustrating, because a kid will be doing his work one minute, and in a fight with another kid in the next. I try to teach them about separation of church and state, but they would prefer to ask me questions about my activity and availability.
Rewind to this weekend. The clan left me, and I spent the entirety of my Saturday (10+ hours, really) completing an online course about the ethical guidelines of research. I nearly died. It was the most boring online coursework I have ever completed, and that’s saying something. Back in high school, I took P.E. and Driver’s Ed online. Trust me, those classes really lose something in translation when they go digital. I was required to get my Food Handler’s License this summer (there’s an entire post about that, if you want to learn why picking your nose in public is a bad idea). This ethical research stuff, though—this was much worse than all of that. Honestly, I don’t think it was very ethical—making me sit there for 10+ hours, reading about dozens of government agencies.
Somehow, I decided that staying in my room and eating a year old MRE for dinner would make me feel better. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. MRE: Meals Ready to Eat. Military rations. My friend Dave gave me one last year, and I had been saving it for a special occasion. Apparently, in my mind, a “special occasion” is being brain-dead and completely alone. In case you have never been fortunate enough to eat a MRE, they are heated by a chemical reaction. All you do is add water. It’s really pretty cool except for the part where your food tastes like a chemistry classroom. Then, as if I wasn’t lame enough—sitting in my room, eating military rationed dog food—I decided to take pictures of my vittles so that you could all laugh at me afterwards. Oh, and there’s a random picture in there…
Shockingly, despite my wonderful Saturday feast, my bad mood continued on through Sunday. Sunday afternoon, as I was leaving for LAX (to pick up Sarah and Maat), I locked my keys in my trunk. I could do nothing but sit and wait for AAA to come to the resque. As I sat, pouting, on the couch, my mom was rambling on about some TV show, Merlin…(To be honest, I’m not sure if that link is a picture of Merlin or of live-action Dumbo)
“We were very disappointed with it. Every single episode is the exact same! No characters ever grow. None of them develop. They keep making the same mistakes.”
I’m afraid that’s how God feels, a lot of the time. “I’m disappointed with Emma. She always makes the same mistakes, never growing, never developing. She still hasn’t forgiven him. She still spends an entire weekend in a bad mood. Her faith always decreases when her bank account does. She lost her patience again. When will she learn?” And it could go on and on.
Thankfully, I know that God is much better than we are, and so, unlike my mom with Merlin, He will stay tuned. I guess all I can do in this situation is try to recognize my flaws and mistakes and work on improving them. It isn’t enough to realize that something is a character flaw of mine, and then use that as an excuse.
On the flip side, God isn’t changing the channel on me, and I can’t change the channel on others (or myself). To be honest: there were times when I walked in to find my hairdryer on the floor, random shoes in my room, and a laundromat where the common room should have been. Sometimes I got annoyed with those things, but then a voice inside my head (yes, I talk to myself, get over it) would say, “Well, Emma, I’m sure you have equally annoying quirks and habits that your wonderful suitemates graciously tolerate.” Then I would toss the shoes into the laundromat, pick up my hairdryer, and listen to High School Musical 2 as loudly as my laptop would allow.
I guess what I’m saying is that we are all going to have persistent character flaws and repetitive episodes, so we need to be patient with ourselves and others (the suitemates and the inmates), while also realizing that we have the opportunity and responsibility to write our own lines. I’m done saying “I miss my friends.” They know that by now, and I think everyone else is tired of hearing it.
Romans 6 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
Matthew 7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
P.S. I’m sorry this post was so cheesy, and I’m sorry about my addiction to commas.
P.P.S. The suitemate example has nothing to do with Sarah putting drugs in my beverages.
P.P.P.S. If you ever had a Hatian Female Substitute explain “Seperation of Church and State” to you, disregard what she told you. Apparently, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
P.P.P.P.S. If you happen to be reading this and you happen to be Adam Hull, that link to the video of your brother in She’s the Man was just for you.