Entry #11 of 12 Christian Teacher in First Nations Schools ~ Journey Toward Forgiveness
Saving Face ~ I'm going back into the Lions Den. In 2003, I got on a plane and left that tiny Northwestern Indian Reserve, I'd never been so destroyed emotionally in my life. But the kids buried a time capsule and I promised I'd return in 10 years to unearth it.
That year we left, I was accused of trying to steal resources ~ harassing the Kindergarten teachers for a set of books that didn't belong to me. I remember the feelings of shock when J.W. told me that one.
'They said you keep asking for books that aren't yours".
"THEY'RE MY DAUGHTER'S BOOKS AND IF THEY THINK THEY'RE GETTING AWAY WITH THIS THEN THEY'VE GOT ANOTHER THINK COMING!"
I told him exactly what the books looked like and how they were of great sentimental value to me and how I had brought them with me the two years previous when I first came on board to teach in that Kindergarten class.
J.W. went to investigate more, trying to reason with the same local teacher (see earlier blogs, Entry #4 and #5) all the while keeping in mind that this was the woman whose husband had already threatened me over the "yard duty' fiasco.
"No. Those books belong to the school. They were here way before she came and we can prove it!"
J.W. brought me one book out of the set of the"proof". Inside the front cover of one of my daughter's beautiful hardcover books on "character" no less! was the name of the school, the name of the class and the name of a teacher who taught that class a few years before I got there.
"OH MY GOD! This is SO evil!"
I began to tremble, then I had a spark of hope.
"I lent one. J.W., I lent one. That first year I got here I lent one of my books to the Grade One teacher on "Bullying".
Anticipation at foiling them in their lies coursed through me. I sent him down to the Grade One class where I KNEW he'd find the book. Sure enough, he came back with it, smiling. He had it open to the inside front cover. No school, class, or teacher information was there at all.
He looked at me with the wisest, kindest, penetrating gaze.
"Why don't you let this go? We know how this ends don't we."
The next day he told me that he went back the Kindergarten class, handed them the "Bullying" title (hmmmmm quite the paradox) and simply said, "You forgot one. I believe you'll be needing this".
He handed it to my accusers making sure they noticed the inside front cover.
Upon reflection, I think the Lord planted the "Time Capsule" idea back in June of 2003.
Plans are all set. We'll arrive at the "tent meetings" where we'll see all the folks we knew at church and then we'll head over to the old school grounds where with our former grade 3 students, now in their late teens, we will unearth the only innocence of those years.
I will be facing those kids again after 10 years. What will they remember of me? I know what I remember of myself ~ a worn out, preoccupied, self-protective, self-absorbed, deeply bitter, confused and angry Christian who has many, many regrets.
I remember the nightmares I had during those days. Wolves, ripping tearing at my chest. The memory of the dream of the cute little cubs I saw and then the mother bear's eyes locked on mine make me wonder what the heck I'm doing going back up there!
The hurt still gnaws away at me when I allow myself to remember. I don't like to remember. I don't like what it feeds in me. They told lies about me, deliberate fabrications. They ridiculed me. They ignored me. They used me. I was told we could have brought them to court for slander and sued their kangaroo-court of a school evaluator lackey also.
I remember the words of my doctor.
"I've seen more careers ruined up on those reserves."
So why am I going back? What am I expecting? Forgiveness? Repentance? Reconciliation?
I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't hoping for some closure and besides which,