My students take a five-minute walk after lunch. On Thursday, one of my students dashed ahead of a group of older students and tripped, falling headlong down the gravel-covered lane. He screamed. Initially, it was impossible to tell if he was hurt, afraid he was hurt, or simply embarassed. Almost immediately, he grabbed his knee and wailed. Another teacher motioned the students to keep walking and left me behind to tend to our fallen comrade.
By now, he was almost hyperventilating.
I looked at his leg. Nothing was broken. Somehow, I had to get him calmed down and willing to walk back to the school.
I talked softly to him. "It's over now. Everything is going to be okay. Take a deep breath. Good. Let it out. Now, another. And again."
Soon, he was ready to stand and hobble back to school.
This morning, I made it to Saturday morning Mass. The week had been a doozy. I was hyperventilating... spiritually, that is.
I knelt and prayed.
There was nobody there, except me, Jesus-in-the-Tabernacle, and my parish priest.
He held his Breviary and quietly prayed, almost singing the Divine Office. He circled the perimeter, pausing as he passed the Altar to bow.
And I was the student who fell. I was the child who hyperventilated. I was the little one being calmed by the Teacher.
It's over now. Everything is going to be okay.
Soon, it was time to stand and hobble back to my life.
The day after my student took a tumble, he was laughing and running and kicking balls. Spiritually, I think I'm ready to do that, too.
Grace. It's all grace.