Endsummer Night’s Dream
By Jane Thornton –
A tall, lanky teen swaggers across the classroom. His defiant eyes dare me to stop his trek. “Check this out!” another boy hollers. A paper wad arcs over three rows of students. Ricocheting off the rim of the beige metal trash can, it bounces to litter the mottled blue carpet. Hoots of laughter mock the clowning thrower.
“Class, I need your attention, please.” My feeble words search for listeners in vain.
Crackling paper snaps my attention to the back corner. Earphones implanted, head swaying, a girl munches on Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Weaving through the desks, I hold out my hand. “No eating in class.”
With her audacious gaze glued to mine, the girl tilts the bag to her mouth, shakes out the last crumbs, scrunches the wrapper, and drops it in my hand. “I’m done. You can throw it away.”
My fogged brain grapples for her name—blank. “That will be a discipline step,” I bark out the threat.
“Ooooh, a discipline step.” Ridicule swathes her retort.
At my hip, a neighboring student snickers. I turn my dire gaze in a new direction. The blonde hunches over her cell phone, thumbs flying.
“I’ll take that.” I jab my palm out over her desk.
She pockets the device and raises limpid eyes. “What?”
Hilarity ripples across the room. Heat flushes through my body. My heart thuds against my chest. Names. I need their names. Why don’t I know their names?
My breath catches, and I wake, sweaty and panicked. Relief floods over me. Only a dream. Then dread and doubt trickle back. I start to pray.
As summer draws to a close, this sequence hits many teachers. Our worst nightmare—a classroom out of control and a personality turned ineffective. I’ve never had a first day like the one I imagine and dread. However, in spite of years of students filing into class cooperatively, each August those fears haunt my dreams and taunt my insecurities.
The details may differ, but I’ve heard of similar attacks on most people. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8b NIV). Worry is one of his best tools. Anxiety leaches joy out of the day.
When I listen to the Spirit’s whispers, I can take the devil’s assault of my sleep and use it to rest in God’s peace. Satan made me imagine the worst; now I cast it on Him (1 Peter 5:7) and claim God’s promise: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).
Don’t fret about this verse as a command; rejoice in the assurance it offers when we trust Him.
Comment Prompt: Share a time when you dreaded something. Did it turn out better or worse than you expected?