The start of a school year is marked by a distinct scent. Detected best in the mornings, it’s a mixture of dew saturating the ground and the cling of earthy, still-humid summer air. One sniff suggests that fall is approaching. Even if the calendar didn’t reveal that the semester is nearly upon us, I’d know just by the smell of things.
It’s official. Tomorrow I start back to work.
During these past three months at home with the girls, I almost forgot that I have professional side. (I teach public speaking and some writing to college students.)
As I’ve reviewed my rosters and set up my course webpages, I’ve thought about the semester ahead. I’ve imagined walking into my classroom on the first day, all eyes on me, and the silence as I pull out the stack of syllabi before I begin to speak. I’ve envisioned the mounds of grading and the inbox full of student emails awaiting response. I’ve prepped myself for the daily swap of the girls. (My husband watches them in the mornings while I teach, and I watch them during the afternoons and evenings while he works.) I’ve braced myself for the inevitable – that if we add one more thing into any given week: an extra meeting, an unexpected appointment – our tightly-run routine could crumple around us like a house built out of cards.
It all makes me feel a bit tense. I’ve been teaching for a decade (a decade!), yet for some reason, I’m nervous this year. There’s a pit in my stomach as I type.
This is why I’m choosing to think about manna. Manna, in the Old Testament, signified God’s perfect provision – just enough, right on time, every single day. When the Israelites had no food, God rained down manna, bread that they had never seen before. They couldn’t provide it on their own. They couldn’t save any for the next day; it would rot.
This semester, my shortage won’t be of food. I won’t need actual manna for sustenance. But the commodities I will need are time and energy – the time to play with my little ones and to grade assignments, the energy to parent wholeheartedly while at home and to teach wholeheartedly while on campus – without growing drained or frustrated that I feel pulled in several directions.
If I visualize the busyness and work that will characterize these next 16 weeks, it would be easy to feel overwhelmed. This is precisely why we don’t live 16 weeks all at once. We live it one day at a time, one hour at a time, and one moment at a time. And that is how God’s provision unfolds – daily, right on time, more than enough.
There will always be enough for today.