Watching someone mix paint together is actually pretty intriguing if you stop long enough to pay attention and forget that, well, you are actually watching someone mix paint together. When a new color is added, it is immediately swept into spirals of itself as it is stirred over and over and over again. At first, the color remains distinct, contrasting the paint already in the bucket, but with each stir, the color loses part of itself to the greater whole. Soon, the colors have blended together, leaving only hints of their original shade.

I feel like the lives of my students are colors being mixed into the paint bucket of our classroom. Personalities, emotions, families, lifestyles, races, religions—all being blended together to form one distinct hue. The paint seems to take on a new color each week. It may only be slightly darker or slightly lighter, but it is new nonetheless.

Since returning from Fall Break a week ago, the paint has been stirred, each student offering their own tint:

Gabriella spent the week squinting at the board through her designer glasses (even though she has prescription glasses in her backpack that she never wears because they aren’t “lit” enough).

Ashton’s mom called and said that he had failed his drug test over Fall Break, which won’t make his visit to the judge too pleasant when he returns for his court date in three weeks.

Khianna changed her dreads from purple to blue (and never had to be sprinkled with Holy Water).

Davion seemed to have been drenched in said Holy Water because he acted like a saint all week and actually journaled about how he was done getting into trouble.

Carlos said that Gabriella had been acting more emotional ever since she grew “speed bumps” (clutching his chest as he emphasized the word).

Cody was out of his seat every few minutes because he couldn’t sit still. I asked if he was ADHD. He said that he was. I asked if he was taking his medicine. He said that he wasn’t. I asked why. He said that his mom had started taking his pills instead, so his dad had to go to the doctor and cancel the prescription. So there’s that…

Felicia walked into school wearing a snowflake-dotted purple sweatshirt with the word “chill” written on it in sharpie. When I asked why she was dressed like that, she said that her friend had shown up to school dressed as Netflix. (The phrase “Let’s watch Netflix and chill” is slang for “Let’s watch Netflix and have sex.”) Felicia and I had a nice long talk about what it means to portray yourself in a positive light.

So that was my week.

With so many colors being stirred into the bucket, it’s easy to lose sight of their individual shades and see them as only one color. But I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want to blur them together and grow accustomed to the label that has been placed on the class. I want to see each vibrant color for what it is—for its clarity and its uniqueness and its value. Only then will I be able to continue to love, and only then will I be able to continue to offer hope.

Pray that Jesus gives me the ability to see as the colors blend this week.

-WMM

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